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Tips for winterizing your condo

Fall is in the air, and that means now is the time to start preparing your condominium for winter.

It’s no secret that winters in Ottawa can be long and cold, winterizing your condo is essential to keeping your condo in good operating condition.

We will take you through some tips on how to keep your condo safe and comfortable all winter long. If you plan on escaping the cold, harsh winter for a few weeks or months then be sure to follow these tips extra closely. Note that some of these tips may not apply to you depending on what type of Condominium you own,

  1. Winterproof your windows and doors The number one source of temperature loss or water leaks from the exterior is due to cracked or peeling weather stripping. Check the weather stripping and seals around your doors to see if they are loose. If they are, it would be wise to ask your Property Manager to assess them as it will help keep the cold air out of your home during the winter.

  2. Add more insulation to your windows If you find the windows in your condo are very drafty, consider further insulating them with a window insulation kit. Check at your local hardware store to see what options are available. Typically, these kits provide a thin covering for your windows that helps create a barrier that holds heat in.

  3. Check your HVAC system No one wants to have their heating system fail on them when it’s freezing out. Make sure to check out your heating system and change your filters. It’s always wise to have regular maintenance done on your furnace, so have someone reliable come and take a look at it before winter approaches.

  4. Cover your Air Conditioning Units It is important to winterize your air conditioning units too. If you have a condo with an air conditioning unit on your balcony, use a cover or tarp to keep snow, ice, and moisture out of it. If you have a window or portable air conditioning unit, take them down and put them away for the winter. Check your windows and make sure to seal them properly to keep cool, drafty air out.

  5. Consider a humidifier Did you know that your HVAC system will run more efficiently when there is an optimal level of humidity in the air? In the winter, the air in Ottawa tends to be more on the dry side so invest in a humidifier to keep the air in your condo moist. Moist air also has other benefits, including helping to combat dry skin. The generally accepted view on the proper level of humidity is between 45 and 50 %.

  6. Reverse your ceiling fans If you have a ceiling fan in your condo, reversing the rotation of it actually allows warm air to circulate down. To do this, check for a small switch on your ceiling fan and flip it.

  7. Turn off your water spigot If you have an outside water spigot, ensure it is turned off from the inside of your unit.

What if I’m heading out of town for the winter?

If you’re planning on leaving your condo unoccupied throughout the winter consider the following tips:

  • Keep your condo’s fan coil and/or heat pump on

  • Program your thermostat to keep the heat on, but at a lower temperature

  • Have someone check in on your condo unit from time to time

  • Check that all doors and windows are sealed and closed

  • Unplug your appliances (unless they’re essential for your condo’s operations)

  • Make sure your Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) is on

  • If you are able to, and it does not affect your heating system, shut off your water supply to your unit.

Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to take on whatever winter brings in Ottawa.

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