Attend to home comfort before winter

83146_optLast winter’s persistent polar vortex not only affected the majority of Canada with subfreezing temperatures, but it also wreaked havoc on utility bills. According to The Farmers’ Almanac and other weather predictors, a polar vortex is expected to rear its ugly head again this winter.

If you would like to be better prepared this time, here are a few simple steps to make sure your home is not only comfortable, but is also your favourite place to spend winter:

• Seal up gaps and cracks: Air leakage represents 25 to 40 percent of the heat loss from older homes and is a contributor to escalating heating bills1. Even your doors and windows can let warm air out. The good news is that you can fix that with a few simple insulating and winterizing do-it-yourself projects. For example, a product called Great Stuff Gaps & Cracks is a window and door sealant made by Dow Building Solutions. Fill the gaps and cracks around doors and windows, plus small spaces like electrical outlets and plumbing pipes for a cozy energy-efficient home. A full list of cost-reducing ideas is available at

• Keep the critters out: Give unwanted vermin a cold reception this winter. While sealing your home, think about using a product that has the added bonus of keeping rodents, spiders and bugs out. Also in the Great Stuff line, a pesticide-free sealant called Pestblock will seal up those entry points and save money on energy bills at the same time.

• Schedule an energy audit: Hire a professional to conduct an audit of your home to help identify areas of energy loss and the projects that could improve its overall efficiency. For a small investment, homeowners can improve the comfort of their homes and reduce their energy bills.

• Change the rotation direction of your ceiling fan: Today’s fans have a small switch that changes the rotation direction. During the winter months, turn your fan clockwise so that it sends the warmer air collected near the ceiling back down to your main living space to keep you and your family warm and comfy all the way to spring.

• Prepare your fireplace: Before you ignite that warm, crackling fireplace, make sure to put a screen at the top of your chimney to keep out rodents and birds. Hire a chimney sweep to remove soot build-up from last winter.

Additional winterization tips, including information on where to purchase products can be found online at


1 “Keeping the Heat In” publication by NRCan (Natural Resources Canada)

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