Built for Canada – Homes Ready for Winter
A whole lot of snow, mixed with some below freezing temperatures, and of course, ice pellets, freezing rain and VOILA … welcome to a Canadian winter! Here in Ottawa, we’ve had a real mixed bag of weather this season but anyone who lives in our country of varying seasons knows that winter is nothing to mess with. You have to be prepared – your car, your family, and definitely your home. Winters often feel like they last forever, so we are here to make sure that your home is prepared to handle those tough Canadian winters.
WHAT WE DO
Uniform prides itself on using high-quality materials in our homes. Often this is to enhance the aesthetic of our homes. Whether it be an imported Sioux City clay brick for aesthetic or a Hardie fibre cement siding, better materials means a better home. Uniform takes this same approach when it comes to energy efficiency. Standard R-60 insulation in our attics, 2 weather strips on our exterior doors, basements fully insulated to the floor for energy efficiency are just a few examples of good construction practices that make our homes withstand Canadian winters more effectively.
WHAT YOU DO
Seal it up. Seal up any cracks of the outside walls of your home or the foundation. Snow is precipitation, therefore moisture. Every new snowfall brings new moisture you want to make sure stays out, so exterior cracks must be well sealed. When the snow and ice melts, water may find its way in through any unsealed gaps in the exterior, damaging the interior finishes of your home.
Inside too! Gaps around the window frames and doors can allow air to leak inside, so make sure the weather-stripping is secure. If not, self-sticking weather-stripping is a great tool for helping windows close tightly.
Open the windows. Like a living organism, a house needs balance and also needs to BREATHE! A home with lots of leaks makes for a cold and expensive winter, but a house that’s too tight can lead to problems with indoor air quality. On nicer, sunnier winter days, crack open a window and let a little fresh air inside. We do encourage homeowners to use the HRV included with their homes to remove stale house air and introduce fresh air from the outside.
Humidifier control. Use humidifiers, which we include as a standard, with controls to reset the humidity level based on the outside temperature and in conjunction with use of your HRV. This combination will keep frost from forming on your windows and doors as the chosen humidity level will be lowered while outside temperatures fall. Average humidity level in your home should be in the range of 35-45%, but in extreme cold spells, it should be set closer to 20%.
Program it. A programmable thermostat can make your life so much easier by allowing you to set your desired temperature without worry. Programmable thermostats can also allow you to save money on your energy bills. Studies have suggested that you can save 1% for every eight hours you set your thermostat down.
Fans in the winter? Yes! Most people think of fans only when they want to be cooled down, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Did you know that counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes, while switching to clockwise makes it warmer? Air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space.
Just say no to ice damming. Ice dams can occur when snow or ice is built up on your roof preventing water from draining properly causing damage to your shingles and gutters. After a big snow storm, be sure to keep the areas around the downspouts clear of snow so that water can drain. Check your attic too, and make sure it’s well ventilated. The area at the end of your garage should also be kept clear of ice, to allow your door to close properly without binding.
Want more? Additional tips and tricks can be found in our homeowner manual.