15 TIPS to Prepare Your Home for WINTER

Countdown til the Cold! 7 days until it is officially the WINTER season and we must think about not only pulling our sweaters and boots out of the closets, but taking care of our houses, as well. This year, don’t find yourself a victim of the first winter storm and left without needed resources, a broken furnace, or burst plumbing pipes. Taking the time to do these simple things before the cold weather hits, will help you not only be prepared in advance, but save money too. Use this handy checklist to help winterize your home and be prepared for what will soon be coming your way…


1.  Be Prepared for the Storm

Service the snow blower, bring out the shovels, and purchase the ice melt. Its best to be prepared ahead of the storm!


2.  Inspect Your Roof

Check your roof well and repair or replace any loose or missing shingles, remove any hanging branches over your house, clean your gutters, inspect for any loose downspouts. A little work now may prevent a major problem in the future.

3.  Drain Exterior Water Systems

Turn off and drain exterior faucets. Roll up and store hoses, insulate outdoor faucets, and winterize sprinkler systems – frozen water can be very destructive, especially when it comes to pipes and hoses.



Photo Courtesy of Advanced Turf Solutions

Photo Courtesy of Advanced Turf Solutions


4. Mulch Leaves When You Mow

Mow your lingering leaves instead of raking them. The leaves are cut into small pieces and decompose and nourish your lawn over the cold winter months. Plus, its easier than raking!


5.  Weatherstrip & Caulk

Simple weatherstripping and caulking can can prevent drafts and improve heating efficiency.


6.  Protect Your Pipes

Insulate any exposed water pipes. Call your plumber or do-it-yourself.  Even if you have pipes that don’t typically freeze in winter months this is still a necessity on your checklist. Waking up to a burst water pipe, or no water for your shower on a freezing day could be a mess. Call in a plumber to check for leaks and check insulation, or simply grab the flashlight and crawl under your house or in your basement, especially, to take a look.


7.  Take Care of your Equipment

Drain gasoline and oil from your lawnmower and weed eater. Wash and move to storage to add years of life to your equipment.




8.  Have the HVAC/Furnace/Heat Pump Checked & Serviced

If your heat source is a furnace, make sure to call in the service person and have them do a full maintenance check. Make necessary updates as needed. You don’t want to discover a problem on a freezing cold night and have to pay for an emergency repair!



9. Drain the Hot Water Heater

Drain your hot water heater. Sediment can clog the system and cause problems. Plus, you can improve its efficiency by 50% with this simple task.


10.  Stock wood and/or gas for heat purposes

If you have a fireplace, pellet stove, kerosene heater, gas heater…make sure to have plenty of fuel supply before cold weather hits. Not only are you prepared for that unexpected cold storm, you won’t pay the higher prices for fuel that happen during the season it is needed more!



11.  Call the Chimney Sweep

If you have a fireplace in your home, then you know the importance of having your chimney swept routinely. Creosote can build up in the flue and cause a fire. Go ahead and call them now to come out and clean out your chimney and make sure your home is safe.


12.  Replenish your emergency supply kit

It’s time to check dates on things like medications, non perishable food items and such in your emergency kit. Replace the lightweight jackets from summer with warm woolen blankets, extra gloves and even a cold weather change of clothing for each family member. Candles, canned goods (and a manual can opener), flashlights, batteries, water purification kits, extra water, essential oil, and more are needed. Adding a few of the “hot hands” packets you find at the checkout counter during cold months is great for helping keep hands or feet warm in extreme cases.


13. Update insulation and windows

Now is as good a time as any to do all those small improvements to help your heating bill, one of which is insulation. Add extra insulation or replace poor quality with better for more efficient heating during the winter. Replace drafty windows or apply sealant to the outside as needed. Also a great time to invest in window coverings that are thick and block out wind and air. Remember to check your attic insulation, too.

Photo Courtesy of Mesler Roofing Co.

Photo Courtesy of Mesler Roofing Co.


14. Reverse Your Ceiling Fan Blades

Run blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat to create an updraft to push hot air downward.


15. Get a Home Warranty

Let a home warranty company help put the freeze on costly covered repairs or replacements of your major home system components and appliances. Just keep in mind that home warranty companies cover the repair or replacement of many systems and appliances, but not necessarily the entire system or appliance.




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