Prepare Your Home for Winter


Properly preparing your home for winter can save you a lot of money and work in the long run. You can ensure lower energy bills, increase the efficiency and longevity of your furnace and keep your family safer and warmer throughout the cold weather. Here are some ways you can get your house ready:

  • Check windows, doors, outlets, etc., for air leaks. If you find any, apply weather-stripping or caulk. If you already have weather-stripping in place, check it for any damage and replace it, if necessary. This will keep warm air in and cold air out.

  • Replace window screens with storm windows and screen doors with storm doors. This provides another level of protection from the elements.

  • Check window and door frames for any damage, such as rotting and decaying, or any gaps. Look for broken or cracked windows. Make needed repairs and replacements.

  • Clean out your gutters and drains. If they are filled with debris and water, then freezing and snow will further clog and damage them. When water has no way of escaping, it can damage the roof and the walls.

  • Secure the gutters and drains on the house. Snow and ice are quite heavy, and can pull the downspouts and gutters away from the house, causing them to bend and sag or even detach completely.

  • Check for damaged, warped or missing shingles on the roof. Replace or repair them so that you can prevent leaks when the roof becomes covered with snow and ice, and melting and re-freezing start to occur.

  • Look for deterioration around any chimneys, skylights, or vents. Replace flashing and caulk around them, if needed.

  • Cover vents and other openings to ensure that birds, rodents and insects do not enter, looking for warm places to build a nest.

  • Check the fireplace for drafts, check the damper for any rust or other damages, and have the chimney professionally cleaned. If there is debris or animals in the chimney, a fire can be dangerous, causing smoke to enter the house, or a house fire.

  • Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are in good working order. Replace the batteries or the entire units if needed.

  • Replace your furnace’s air filters to improve efficiency and air quality. Have the furnace inspected for any issues.

  • Switch fans to reverse, so that they turn clockwise. This blows warm air downward, which improves heat efficiency.

  • Treat and repair any damaged deck boards or sidewalk cracks, in order to reduce the risk of excess ice forming or boards rotting through. These issues can result in more injuries from falling.

  • Clean debris out from under decks to prevent growth of mold or mildew.

  • Inspect handrails on all stairs outside. Make sure they are steady and secure.

  • Turn off all hoses and other faucets outside and drain leftover water from them to prevent them from bursting when the water freezes.

  • Bring in plants that cannot survive the frost and winter weather.

  • Make sure your outdoor furniture is clean and dry, and store it in a safe place for the winter.

  • Clean off your lawn mower and other yard and garden tools. Make sure they are dry and stored somewhere secure.

  • Change the oil on your snow blower, sharpen your ice chopper, and move your shovels to a convenient location, so that you will be ready when the winter weather begins.

By being well-prepared, you can protect yourself from inconvenience and from having to spend excessive money on repairs. Take care of all the needed preparations while the weather is still warm enough to do so. Then when the freezing temperatures and snow and ice hit, you will be glad you did.

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