6 Tips for Preparing Your House This Fall & Winter

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 @ 9:34am

Hopefully, you’ve all had a great summer and were able to get most of those outdoor projects checked off your list! But the shorter days are here and you can feel the cooler nights of August, which means our summer days are numbered! And once again, there is another list of things to consider when preparing your house for the inevitable: fall and winter months! Here are 6 tips that should be on your list!

I always recommend homeowners do their home maintenance from the outside in as you need to protect what’s inside from the elements. The building envelope is probably the most important feature of your home and it needs to be solid so it can stand up to another Canadian winter.

6) Landscaping and Grading:

Take a survey of the landscaping around your home and make sure you have the proper grading. Water management around the home is key to protecting your home over winter. You always want the water to be draining or flowing away from your home and foundation, not towards it.

5) The Roof Is the First Line of Defence:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Your roof is your home’s first line of defence. Does it need to be repaired? Do the shingles need replacing? It’s also a good time to think about adding more insulation in the attic, do any exterior repairs, like tuck-pointing and/or brick repairs, including any work on your chimney. I highly recommend that you book a chimney inspection and cleaning by a certified professional, like a WETT (Canada) or CSIA (USSA) Certified Chimney Sweep.


If you use your fireplace regularly you should get it inspected and cleaned every year, no exception. Most chimney fires occur because the chimney has not been properly maintained and there is a build-up of Creosote (or soot) which is extremely combustible, and dangerous. If it isn’t properly cleaned or neglected the results could be devastating.

4) Eavestroughs and Downspouts:

Check your eavestroughs and downspouts. Make sure they are in good working condition, draining properly and cleared of debris. It is also important to make sure the return on the downspouts, are at least 3 ft. away from the foundation.


Proper water drainage from eavestroughs and downspouts help protect your basement from leaks.

3) Last Chance to Check for Foundation Cracks:

If you think you have a leaky basement, get it fixed now! This is very important, as this is your last chance. Another winter season of a freeze and thaw cycle could make it worse. At this point in the year, you can still hire a pro to do it, but do it now! Any good contractor, including those who specialize in basement repairs, maybe busy and booked. Depending on their availability, I wouldn’t recommend starting any work after November. By this time in the year, the temperature has begun to drop and the ground may have started to freeze so no work should be done at this point and you’ll have to wait for next spring!

2) Last Chance to Replace Your Windows and Doors:

If your windows or doors need replacing you want to do that now too. It will help you save money over winter, so you’re not cranking up the furnace. A good professional will also replace the framing and fill in any gaps with Sika a spray foam insulation to eliminate air leaks. Typically, it can take 4-6 weeks to get the right windows in from the manufacturer so contact the pros now. If your windows and doors are still in good shape make sure they are properly sealed.

Watch below to see how we use Sika Boom to eliminate air leaks

1) Get Your HVAC Checked:

Mike Holmes Indoor Air Quality

Most people worry about the air quality outdoors, but the air inside your home can be 2-5 times more polluted. In some cases, it’s 100 times worse!

This is also the best time to schedule an HVAC maintenance check. If your furnace needs repairs or needs to be replaced, now is the time to book a good HVAC professional. I know winter is the furthest from your mind but trust me, it’s just around the corner and you want to be prepared. An HVAC professional can also take a look at your air conditioner before you shut it off for the season, and can also check your ducts in case they need to be cleaned.

Remember, your HVAC is the lungs of your home so make sure your filters have been changed or cleaned as they help keep the air in your home healthy. The quality of your home’s indoor air quality becomes increasingly important in the colder months, as we tend to spend more time indoors.

Fall is just around the corner so get a head start by contacting the right professionals you’ll need to properly winterize your home. That might mean starting with a home maintenance inspection to help prioritize repairs—and the sooner, the better.

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