5 Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter

| February 13, 2019 | 11 Comments

5 Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter

In Ottawa, and throughout eastern Ontario, winter is a seriously frigid season – with snowstorms, freezing rain, and often blizzard conditions. This isn’t a good time to be losing your indoor heat because of poor insulation or air leakage. The point is, when your home is energy efficient, you won’t lose valuable heat and your heating bill won’t be outrageous. With good advice from a local home energy professional, you can actually reduce your seasonal utility bills throughout winter.

5 Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter
House surrounded by snow.

Make sure you’re not losing heat through your attic and roof

When you lose indoor heat through the attic and roof, you’ll probably encounter “ice damming” around the edges of the roofline. These ice dams and icicles are a sure sign that your insulation is under-performing or that parts of the building envelope are suffering from air leakage.

Ice dams occur because warm indoor air creates a freezing/melting dynamic with the outdoor snow and ice. The solution here is straightforward – effective air sealing, high quality insulation, and an appropriate ventilation system that addresses the needs of the attic/roof cavity.

You can upgrade your windows from single-pane to double

If your windows are old, they are probably single-pane with low thermal resistance. As a result, they allow interior heat to escape, and in some cases they allow cold air to intrude. Today’s new window systems are specially designed to be energy efficient, with high thermal performance.

True, upgrading your windows to double-pane has an upfront cost investment. But the upgrade will save money in the long run – with improved energy efficiency your double-paned windows could reduce energy usage by 25%. That means having significant savings during the winter.

5 Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter
Furnace

Your heating system (and AC) should be running efficiently

When a heating system is inefficient, it’s underperforming, overworked, and therefore consuming higher-than-normal energy. Proper regular maintenance is essential for peak performance, and replacing furnace filters is critical. Seasonally, an HVAC contractor should provide maintenance.

Conventionally, it’s best to inspect and fine-tune your heating system before the winter starts. It should be working efficiently at the very least, and problems should be addressed and remedied. Worst case (particularly with a professional recommendation) a new unit may be the answer.

Preventing heat from leaking through doors and windows

Proper window and door maintenance is an easy and simple way to prevent heat from escaping in the winter. Comprehensive caulking and weather-stripping will very effectively seal air leaks around your doors and windows. The key is using quality materials for long-term performance.

5 Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter
bedroom

Doors and windows should be regularly checked and maintained to ensure efficient air sealing.  For many homeowners, this could be a DIY project, again using quality products. However for the ultimate results (summer and winter) professional weatherproofing might be the best answer.

Upgrading insulation in the attic, basement, exterior walls

At some point, your home insulation may require upgrading and/or retrofitting. Yes – a DIY option could save you money in the short term, but for long-term benefits, its best to go with a professional. The point is, upgrading insulation is more than just topping up existing materials.

With insulation retrofits, a professional contractor will create a complete “system”, addressing air movement, moisture control, and proper ventilation. This is done with high quality products that effectively air seal the installation area and ensure peak performance for the installed insulation.

When it comes to keeping your home cozy, do it right the first time

Clearly, this guide is meant to be a starting point – with great ideas for winter home comfort. For someone who is handy, much can be achieved with a good set of tools and quality products from the local home centre. But it’s critical to do the work right. Anything short will create problems.

5 Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter
5 Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter

With a professional home energy contractor, you’re on the receiving end of both experience and expertise. Good contractors do it right the first time, without taking unnecessary shortcuts and by always addressing the “big picture”. Professionals will also provide you with 100% satisfaction.

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Category: Home & Garden, Living, Themes, Tips, Weekly Themes, Winter

About the Author ()

Lyne is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. It has always been her dream to create a website dedicated just for Moms since her children were young. Thus, after 10 years, she finally accomplished it, and the Ottawa Mommy Club was born in May 2011. She loves all things Disney and is an avid chocoholic. She was also the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

Comments (11)

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  1. These are some great tips. My house needs some upgrades. I find it drafty at times.

  2. Lynda Cook says:

    I upgraded my windows a few years back and boy did it help we sure can tell the difference!

  3. Calvin says:

    Could use better insulation for sure. I think these are good tips to start

  4. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    Although our house is only 6 yrs old I find that the windows let in cold air, perhaps that’s normal when it’s -25 C outside? I do have wonderful blinds that keep out a lot of the cold at night but boy does it rush at me when I open the blinds up.

    • Lyne says:

      I would check with the manufacturer or your contractor since your new house should still be under warranty.

      • Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

        We had so many problems with this house that in the end the builder just closed the file! I have the basement apartment and when we moved in the heating didn’t work properly and pipes froze in the kitchen, I had ice on 2 electric outlets etc etc. It cost me a lot of money to get everything fixed and I do wish I could have afforded to have had floor heating put in in the beginning, that was a big mistake not to get that.

  5. micheline says:

    Thank you for the good tips, its freezing out here in Atlantic Canada.

  6. Leanne says:

    These are great tips . We try to upgrade a little bit every year . We just recently did our windows . Thinking next year we should probably look into the insulation.

  7. Erin N says:

    Thanks for the tips! I live in BC where it is usually milder in the winters, but we have had quite a cold season this year!

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