The Canadian winter can be ruthless. So ruthless that more than half a million Canadian residents head south to the U.S. every winter.
Are you a snowbird? Regardless of your answer, there’s one simple
truth that you shouldn’t ignore: you can’t take your home with you.
Every winter your windows and doors have to hold up to the harsh climate
you may be escaping.
Don’t leave them to their own defenses! Keep reading to learn the hazards winter poses for your windows and doors (and what you can do to turn them into winter windows, and winter doors!)
Condensation: how can you tell when it’s a good thing or a bad thing?
Condensation occurs when there is a vast temperature change on either side of a piece of glass.
What happens is this: warm air begins to rise, and eventually cools.
As it cools, it loses its capability to hold water. Since it can’t hold
the water vapor, the excess begins to pool into little droplets.
That’s the condensation you see on your windows in the winter. You
might even see it on your windows in the summer when you crank your air
conditioning up while it’s scorching outside.
In the winter, your windows get super cold overnight (when it’s
coldest). Then, in the morning, as the sun starts to heat your windows
back up, a temperature difference begins to grow. This is when
condensation forms on your window in the winter.
It’s not always a big deal—after all, it’s a natural process that’s bound to happen as temperatures fluctuate in the winter. It becomes a big deal when you notice condensation in between panes of double-paned windows, though. If you see condensation between panes, it means you may have a window leak that you should probably get checked out by a pro.
Leaks and Drafts
This is, by far, one of the most common issues most homeowners run
into come wintertime. Why? Because there are a number of reasons you may
be experiencing leaky, drafty doors or windows.
The first is that your doors or windows weren’t installed properly.
Proper installation will seal up the frame nice and tight so no air can
get through. Air getting through is the last thing you want in the
wintertime; that means your warm, inside air is escaping, and making
room for the frigid outdoor air to replace it.
Pro tip: you can check for leaky doors and windows in the summertime,
too. If your electric bill seems ridiculously high for pretty normal
A/C use, you might have leaks!
The second reason? Your sealants are getting old. Weather stripping
doesn’t last forever. Over time, it breaks down, allowing air leaks and
Before winter is thrust upon you, take a few hours to look closely at
your doors and windows. Get some quality caulk to seal up any areas
where the sealant is losing its hardiness.
The third and final reason you may be experiencing leaks and drafts?
Your windows are old! It may be time to invest in an upgrade.
Opt for vinyl windows if it’s time to replace your old ones. Vinyl
windows are the most energy efficient on the market thanks to
double-paned glass and frames with insulation. Give it one winter with
new vinyl windows—your electricity bill and frozen toes will thank you!
Certain materials are affected more by drastic changes in humidity
and temperature more than others. Wood, for instance, reacts strongly to
these changes. That makes wooden doors and windows extremely
susceptible to warping during the winter.
If you’ve got wooden doors or windows, make sure to treat them with
sealer before winter comes. Some metal doors and windows are prone to
It’s a problem for two reasons. The first is that, once your door or
window gets warped, there’s no fixing it. It’ll need to be replaced, or
else you’ll continue to suffer the consequences of the warping.
And those consequences are no fun in the winter. Warped doors and
windows will let in cool air, and allow your toasty inside air to escape
quickly. This is because they no longer fit the frame they were built
To avoid this problem entirely, opt to replace your wooden and metal doors and windows with vinyl alternatives.
This one’s not as huge of a deal as the others on the list, but it’s still a nuisance to deal with! Excess moisture in the air from the harsh winter can cause your door to fade in color. This is a real drag for those who pride themselves on their front doors’ pops of color!
Here are two fixes, both short and long term.
The short term fix is to apply a treatment to your existing front
door before winter makes its way in. There are tons of different door
glazes and treatments on the market that can help protect your door
For a long term fix, consider opting for a fiberglass door instead of
a wood door. Fiberglass is moisture-resistant, and you can often find
doors that have been pre-treated to prevent color fading. Ditch the door
treatments for a long term solution!
Locks Seizing Up
If you tend to stick around during the winter, you’re probably no
stranger to that drop in your stomach when you realize your lock’s
frozen over and you can’t get inside. Not only is this inconvenient for
you, but it can even put your home at risk for forced entry.
Keep a lock de-icing spray can in your car in case this happens.
These are your best bet for thawing that bad boy out as fast as
You can also use a lighter to warm up your key before you stick it
into the lock. It might take a few times for it to thaw, which isn’t fun
when you’re standing outside in the cold. That’s why we suggest keeping
a de-icing spray on hand!
Another potential culprit? You might have frozen-in dirt and oil
stuck inside the lock. If you think this is the case, remove the screws
from the lock and take it off to wash it out. You can use dish soap and
Just don’t forget to let it dry before putting it back on, or it’ll freeze up again!
Prepare for the Canadian Winter
Although we love living in Ontario, there’s no denying that the
Canadian winter can definitely seem more like a foe than a friend
sometimes. In the summer, we romanticize nights spent curled up near the
fire with a good book. But when reality actually hits, we’re left
shivering under tons of blankets to make up for our leaky windows and
Don’t let that be you this winter! Get in touch with us to find out how we can help prep your home for winter. We’re here to help you improve your home in every season!