Here in Canada, we’re no strangers to cold winter weather. Snowstorms, blowing winds, and sub-zero temperatures are expected and can sometimes last for up to six months of the year in some regions. While the weather doesn’t usually slow us down, when the temperature suddenly dips in a matter of hours, you need to be prepared for anything.

Winterizing your home for a cold snap, also known as a ‘cold wave’ or ‘cold spell,’ is a crucial step to keep your home operating smoothly when the weather suddenly dips to freezing temperatures. Don’t be left out in the cold with our top tips to prepare for a cold snap.

Turn up the heat

Ensure your furnace is switched to “on” and not “auto,” and increase your indoor temperature to a comfortable level to keep out the chill and to ensure the water in your pipes and toilet bowls don’t freeze. Poorly insulated water pipelines and indoor plumbing could rupture as the water expands within them, causing damage to your property and leaving you with costly repairs. And, keep the cold out by regularly inspecting weatherstripping on your doors and windows to ensure you have a proper seal.

Safety first

Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re working. We recommend having both wired-in and battery models to protect your family in the event of a power outage. It’s also a good idea to have backup heat, power and food sources. Consider building an emergency kit with flashlights, candles and matches, blankets and shelf-stable food and bottled water if you lose power or water or become snowed in.

Lower your humidity

Take preventative steps to avoid excess humidity, including lowering your humidifier to 20 – 25%. You should run your bathroom fans for up to 60 minutes after a shower or bath, and make sure your kitchen hood fan is on while cooking to draw out any excess moisture. Excess indoor humidity could cause damage your window and door frames, flooring and could cause attic rain.

Get outside

Before the cold weather hits, it’s crucial to drain and turn off your external water supply (hose bibs). It’s also a good idea to make sure your exterior vents and intake valves are clear of debris and build up. When the cold snap is over, it’s always a good idea to walk around the exterior of your home and do a visual inspection. Keep an eye out for ice damming or damaged flashing and be sure to address any damage right away.