Preparing Your Home for Winter

As fall ends and everyone starts getting cozy indoors, it’s easy to forget that we should get our exteriors ready for winter. Shorter days and colder weather make us want to stay indoors and warm, but if you didn’t prepare in the fall, you should do what you can now. After all, it’s hard to stay warm if your house is drafty and your HVAC system can’t function at its best. Here’s a quick list of what you should be doing towards the end of every year before the weather gets too bad.

  • Clean and inspect your gutters. Remove all leaves and other debris so that melting snow can drain properly. Check to see if gutters are attached to the home properly, as heavy snow can pull them down and cause issues for your roof and house.
  • Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and change the batteries. If the detectors are older, consider replacing them for new ones. With the majority of us using Christmas lights and extension cords decorate over the holidays (and some people keeping them on overnight), working detectors are a must and could save your life.
  • Prepare for snowstorms by making sure you have enough salt or ice melt to avoid having to make a trip to the store in a storm. If you have pets, be sure to purchase ice melt that’s safe for paws. Also, make sure you have a good shovel or two. I’ve had a cheap plastic shovel break when I was shoveling, so a second one is a good idea.
  • Check for gaps or worn-out weatherstripping around your doors and replace where necessary. Check windows for drafts and worn-out caulk.
  • Take hoses off spigots and put them away.
  • Replace your HVAC filter(s).
  • If you alternate between screens and storm windows, make the switch to storm for winter.
  • For those who have a/c units in windows, remove them or purchase an insulated liner to prevent cold air from sneaking in around the unit.
  • If you have a fireplace, ensure it’s in proper working order before lighting your first fire. Hire a chimney sweep if necessary.
  • If you have trees close enough to your house or electrical lines that they could cause issues if branches fall, trim them. Heavy snow can knock branches down, and no one wants to lose electricity in cold weather, or worse, have a huge branch crash through their roof.


For more tips on how to winterize your home, check out Bob Vila’s full list at:

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