What Temperature to Leave a Vacant House in Winter Canada

Temperature to Leave a Vacant House

As winter blankets Canada in its frosty embrace, homeowners facing the prospect of leaving their houses vacant during the colder months grapple with a common question: What’s the best temperature to set for an unoccupied home? The Canadian winter, known for its biting cold and snowy landscapes, poses unique challenges for maintaining an empty house. Striking the right balance is essential to ensure energy efficiency, prevent potential issues like frozen pipes, and avoid skyrocketing heating costs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the specifics of setting the thermostat just right and provide valuable insights on preparing your vacant house to weather the winter season with resilience. Whether you’re a snowbird escaping to warmer climes or a property owner with seasonal vacancies, let’s explore the optimum temperature and practical tips for winterizing your vacant abode.

The Goldilocks Zone: Finding the Right Temperature

Determining the ideal temperature for a vacant house during winter involves striking a balance between energy conservation and preventing damage. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) suggests keeping the thermostat set to around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) to maintain a reasonable level of warmth without unnecessary energy consumption.

Why 15 Degrees Celsius?

  1. Energy Efficiency: Keeping the temperature at 15 degrees Celsius helps minimize energy usage while preventing the house from becoming too cold.
  2. Frozen Pipes Prevention: Maintaining this temperature is generally sufficient to prevent pipes from freezing, reducing the risk of costly plumbing issues.
  3. Preserving Belongings: A slightly warmer indoor environment helps protect furniture, electronics, and other belongings from extreme cold, avoiding potential damage.

Tips for Winterizing Your Vacant House:

  1. Insulation is Key: Ensure that your home is well-insulated to retain heat efficiently. Check windows, doors, and any vulnerable areas for drafts and address them accordingly.
  2. Smart Thermostats: Consider investing in a smart thermostat that allows you to remotely monitor and adjust the temperature. This way, you can make necessary changes based on weather forecasts.
  3. Winter Maintenance Checks: Before winter arrives, schedule a thorough inspection of your heating system, insulation, and windows to identify and address any potential issues.
  4. Seal Gaps and Cracks: Seal gaps and cracks in the walls, foundation, and around windows and doors to prevent cold drafts from entering the house.
  5. Unplug Electronics: Unplug non-essential electronics to reduce energy consumption and minimize the risk of electrical issues.


Insulating a vacant home in Canada requires thoughtful planning to strike a balance between energy efficiency and property protection. By setting your thermostat to around 15 degrees Celsius and following the recommendations, you can ensure that your empty home remains in good condition throughout the winter months. You should also remember that most of the heat is lost through the roof, so you need to think about a quality roof. These measures will not only help you save energy, but will also give you peace of mind knowing that your home is protected from the harsh Canadian winter.

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