While homes are designed to withstand all types of weather, a few simple tweaks can help maintain top form during the frostiest months.

With typical Calgary area days exceeding 15 degrees Celsius in September slipping to freezing-and-below temperatures in October and November, conditions within the home change.

Here are three tips to get your home ready for winter from Kevin Johnson, a homecare specialist with Shane Homes.

Drain the Taps 
After watering the trees and lawn one last time before the snow flies, make sure the exterior taps — also known as hose bibs — are clear.

“This is important because the water lines in the faucets can freeze, potentially break and cause a water leak in the home,” says Johnson.

To accomplish this, first find and close the shutoff valve to the exterior line in the basement. Then remove and put away hoses connected to any outdoor taps and open the house bib to drain the line.

Finally, return to the basement and locate the bleeder valve on the line leading to the outdoor faucet.
When you open this valve, expect to see about one litre of water released.

Clamp Down On Condensation
Cold air carries less moisture than warm air, so when temperatures drop, water vapor is more likely to land on glass.

Condensation and ice “will build up rapidly and cause problems,” says Johnson.

The easiest way to dodge this issue is adjust the settings on the home’s humidifier and heat recovery ventilator (HRV).

Johnson suggests setting the humidifier to about 30 per cent and the HRV to about 35 per cent.

Another tactic to cut condensation is raise window blinds five to six inches. This welcomes additional heat and dries any moisture buildup on the window.

Air Movement 
At no time of the year does a furnace need to work harder than the winter months, so make sure it’s setup to succeed.

While it’s recommended that furnace filters are changed once a month, many change them seasonally.
Before things get cold, change your furnace filter and clean the HRV, says Johnson. 

“If you don’t have a clean filter it is going to put a lot of stress on the furnace so it could shut down,” he adds.
“We are going into the heating season, so having a clean filter right from now on is going to make everything more efficient. Your furnace is going to heat more efficiently and it’s going to heat faster.”