winterizing your home, preparing your home for winter

Winterizing Your Home: 10 Things to Check Before Winter

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As the leaves begin to change colors and the nights get colder, it’s a clear sign that winter is approaching. Many families start to nest again and spend more time indoors as the cold weather hits. However, before you cozy up by the fireplace with a cup of cocoa, preparing your home for old man winter is important. Use this list as a guide to winterizing your home to avoid costly damages and repairs in the future.

A cold blast could be just around the corner, and you’ll want to ensure your house is ready. While it may be tempting to put off preparations until the first snowfall, taking a few hours now to check key areas of your home can save you from much bigger problems and expensive repairs down the road. In this post, we will share our top 10 things you’ll want to examine closely to winterize your home and give you peace of mind during the colder months ahead.

1. Heating System

Your heating system is the heart of your home during winter. Schedule an annual maintenance check with a professional to ensure your furnace or boiler is in good working order. They can clean the system, check for potential issues, and replace worn parts. Regular servicing ensures you stay warm when temperatures drop and extends the life of your heating system.

Besides the professional checkup, make sure to replace your furnace filters. A clean filter improves air quality in your home and allows your heating system to run more efficiently, saving you money on energy bills.

  • Schedule an annual maintenance check with a professional.
  • Confirm that the system is clean, with no potential issues.

2. Roof and Gutters

The roof and gutters are your home’s first defense against winter weather. A visual inspection of your roof can reveal missing or damaged shingles that must be replaced before the first snow falls. Use binoculars to scan your roof, or hire a professional roofer if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself.

Your gutters also need attention. Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris to ensure water can flow freely. This helps prevent ice dams and icicles from forming, which can cause significant damage to your home. Consider installing gutter guards to keep your gutters clean. Contact a reliable roofing company to help with these tasks if needed.

  • Perform a visual inspection of the roof for any missing or damaged shingles.
  • Consider using binoculars or hiring a professional for a thorough inspection.

3. Doors and Windows

Cold air can seep into your home through cracks and gaps around doors and windows, forcing your heating system to work harder and raising energy bills. Before winter, inspect the seals and weatherstripping around your windows and doors. Replace any that are worn out.

Also, consider investing in energy-efficient doors and windows if you haven’t already. They can make a big difference in your comfort and heating costs during winter.

  • Check the seals and weatherstripping around your windows and doors for cracks or gaps.
  • Replace any worn-out seals and weatherstripping.

4. Chimney and Fireplace

If you have a fireplace, having your chimney inspected and cleaned before you use it is important. Creosote, a byproduct of burning wood, can build up in your chimney and cause a fire. A professional chimney sweep can remove creosote and other obstructions, ensuring your fireplace is safe.

  • Schedule a professional chimney inspection and cleaning.
  • Ensure all creosote and other obstructions are removed from the chimney.

5. Insulation

A well-insulated home retains heat much better, reducing your energy bills. Check the insulation in your attic, walls, and basement. You may need to add more if it’s damaged or there’s not enough of it.

Remember, insulation doesn’t just keep your home warm in winter. It also helps keep your home cool in summer.

  • Conduct a thorough check of your attic, walls, and basement insulation.
  • Verify if any insulation is damaged or insufficient.
  • Consider adding more insulation where needed to improve heat retention.

6. Pipes

Frozen pipes can burst, causing a big mess and expensive repairs. To prevent this, insulate your pipes, especially those in unheated areas like the garage, attic, and crawl spaces.

You can also let faucets drip slightly during very cold weather to keep water moving and reduce the risk of freezing. Know where your main water shutoff valve is if a pipe bursts.

  • Insulate your pipes, particularly those in unheated areas such as the garage, attic, and crawl spaces.
  • Consider allowing faucets to drip slightly during extremely cold weather to maintain water flow and lessen the risk of freezing.

7. Safety Devices

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly. Replace batteries as needed.

Also, have a fire extinguisher handy, especially if you use a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Make sure your family knows where it is and how to use it.

  • Conduct regular tests on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they function correctly.
  • Replace batteries in these safety devices as needed.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher readily available and ensure all family members know its location and operation.

8. Landscaping

Trim tree branches that hang over your home or electrical wires. Snow and ice can weigh them down and cause them to break, possibly causing damage or a power outage.

Also, winterize your lawn and garden by removing dead plants, raking up leaves, and covering sensitive plants with mulch or a frostcloth.

  • Inspect tree branches hanging over your home or electrical wires, and trim them as necessary to prevent snow or ice accumulation damage.
  • Remove all dead plants and rake up leaves from your lawn and garden to prepare for winter.
  • Cover sensitive plants with mulch or frost cloth to protect them from harsh winter conditions.

9. Outdoor Lighting

Shorter days mean less natural light. Ensure all your outdoor lights work so you can safely navigate your driveway and walkways in the dark. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.

Consider adding motion sensor lights or timed lights for added security and convenience.

  • Inspect all outdoor lighting fixtures for any signs of damage or wear.
  • Test all outdoor lights to ensure they are functioning correctly.
  • Replace any burnt-out or flickering bulbs.
  • Consider installing motion sensor lights in key areas for added security and convenience.

10. Emergency Supplies

Finally, stocking up on emergency supplies is a good idea if a winter storm knocks out your power. Keep a supply of non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, blankets, and a first-aid kit.

Don’t forget about your car. Keep a small shovel, salt or sand, a windshield scraper, and warm clothing in your car if you get stuck in the snow.

  • Consider purchasing a portable generator for backup power during a prolonged outage.
  • Have a list of emergency contact numbers handy, including local authorities, utility companies, and medical facilities.

Final Thoughts On Winterizing Your Home

Winterizing your home can seem daunting, but it is essential for maintaining a safe and comfortable living environment during the colder months. By following these ten tips, you can ensure that your family and home are prepared for winter. Don’t wait until the first snowfall to start your preparations – start early and be proactive!

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Kayla is the content creator over at She is a wife and mother who loves to share all of the tips, tricks, and life lessons that she has learned over the years with all of her readers. Her primary focus is on children’s education, motherhood, and healthy family relationships!

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