Home Winter Checklist: Get Your Home Ready
Shorter days and changing leaves can only mean one thing, winter is quickly approaching. There's no better time to complete these simple tasks than right now while the weather is beautiful!
These simple tasks will help you and your family stay warm, safe and energy-efficient throughout the winter.
Windows and Doors
Check all weatherstripping around windows and doors for leaks which can quickly lead to a hefty power bill and cold toes. Replace weatherstripping, if necessary.
Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. This is not something you should wait to repair or replace as it's essential to fix to maintain structural integrity.
Check for drafts around windows and doors. If you feel a draft coming in, you'll need to caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.
Lawn, Garden, and Deck
Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage.
Apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house and take the water with it! Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter. This helps to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prevent having to buy a new one next spring!
Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts. Wrap them with a cover to prevent freezing.
Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter. Once splintering and decay begin, it's important to get your deck repaired sooner rather than later. You'll thank yourself later when you save on repair costs!
Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to slow mold and mildew growth.
Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured. If they're not, get them fixed before any chance of icy stairs happens!
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
If you have a fireplace, check for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted.
Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace to ensure maximum efficiency.
Clean your humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
If you have an older thermostat, replace the batteries before cranking it up.
Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor.
Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Use a sealant to plug up any leaks.
Gutters, Roof, and Drains
Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles. Replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a cold leak.
Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. If you find any, seal the joints where water could get through using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening, and re-secure if you find they're loose or sagging.