Kim Wesley

Preparing Your Home for the Winter

With the leaves changing colours and blanketing the ground, it is time to think about preparing your home for the winter. If you have closed your pool, maintained the grounds, and stored your patio furniture, you are off to a good start!

For you to make sure that you get through the winter with no unpleasant surprises, it is important to engage in fall preparations as well as winter home maintenance. Doing so involves checking four key areas of your home:

  • Gutters;
  • Roof;
  • Exhaust openings; and
  • Heating systems.


Gutters play an important role for a house because they redirect water in an effective and safe manner in order to prevent damage to the home and its foundation.

For them to adequately carry out this role, gutters must be cleaned out periodically—for leaves in the fall and buds in the spring—to ensure that they are not obstructed by debris that could prevent water from flowing well.

Be vigilant when the snow melts in the spring or during a period of milder weather in the winter. During such periods, gutters are heavily relied on and must quickly drain water away. It is therefore important to ensure that they are ready to operate at full capacity to prevent an accumulation of water that could damage them or the roof of your home.


The roof is another aspect to which special attention must be paid in the winter. You remove snow from the entrance of your house, your stairs, and your balcony, but you probably do not think about your roof as often. However, it should be one of your priorities when it comes to removing snow.

It is important to understand that it is not so much the quantity of snow on your roof that is an issue, but instead the weight of it; wet snow is much heavier than powder snow. When there are milder periods mixed with increasingly frequent ice storms, the weight on the roof of your home can increase rather quickly.

There are some signs that indicate that there is an issue with the weight of the snow:

  • A warped roof;
  • Cracks in the ceiling or interior walls;
  • Doors that come into contact with frames or do not close anymore; and
  • Signs of water damage.

Naturally, it is recommended that you take preventative measures before any of the above situations occur. However, if you notice any of the signs, it is important to act as quickly as possible. You can remove snow from your roof yourself while making sure you stay safe by using a telescoping shovel, or you can call a company that specializes in removing snow from roofs.


It is also important to pay close attention to the following vents and exhaust openings:

  • Range hood;
  • Dryer vent;
  • Air exchanger; and
  • Bathroom fans.

Make sure that these vents are never obstructed by snow or objects that could prevent them from functioning properly. If a dryer vent is obstructed by lint, it makes the dryer operate less efficiently and is also a fire hazard.


Finally, it is important not to forget about various types of heating systems. Make sure that all of the systems in place are ready to be used. Heating systems must be prepared as follows:

  • Clear out and clean the electric baseboards in your home;
  • Clean the air vents and filters in the central heating system to ensure that it functions optimally; and
  • Carry out preventative maintenance for auxiliary heating systems, such as wood-burning stoves, by having chimneys swept and ensuring that systems function properly.

Remember that by keeping these aspects in mind and taking a few small actions, you will stack the odds in your favour for a safe winter with no unpleasant surprises!

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Kim Wesley Personal-Lines Director
Damage Insurance Broker
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