How to Prepare a Home for Winter

With fall finally hear, now is the time to start preparing your home for winter. A little preparation will go a long way toward keeping your home warm an toasty on the inside while keeping your energy bills low.

Couple relaxing with mulled wine at romantic fireplace on winter evening

Windows and Doors

Construction Worker Installing New Windows In House

  • Check all the weatherstripping around windows and doorframes for leaks. Repair or replace any worn or faulty weatherstripping
  • Replace all screen doors with storm doors.
  • Replace all window screens with storm windows.
  • Check around windows and doors for any drafts. If a draft is found, use calk to seal it.
  • Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Replace broken glass or repair windows if necessary.

    • Heating and Air Conditioning

      Furnace filter maintenance with hand changing home appliance

      • Inspect any firebox or flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot. Also check for any cracks that could become a fire hazard.
      • Check fireplace for drafts.
      • Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace. This will help the air quality and boost the efficiency of your furnace.
      • Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to release any air inside.
      • Check batteries in all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
      • Remove air conditioners from your windows or cover them to prevent drafts
      • Switch ceiling vans to the reverse position (clockwise rotation). This will help blow warm air down to the floor.
      • Flush your hot water heater tank to remove any sediment that may have built up. Also check the pressure relief valve.
      • Check exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, for leaks and plug them if necessary.

      Gutters, Roof, and Drains

      gardener renew roof of summer garden house with tar paper shingles

      • Clean gutters of any debris.
      • Check your roof for any missing, damaged, or warped shingles. Replace as necessary to prevent leaks.
      • Check the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are properly secured to the house. The extra weight of snow and ice can pull gutters from the house.
      • Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet to prevent flooding of the foundation and water damage from snowmelt.
      • Check that all vents and openings are covered. This will prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside.

      Lawn, Garden, and Deck

      Staining a wooden deck with a staining pad.

      • Check your property for overgrown branches and trim as needed. Pay extra attention to any branches near electrical wires to prevent property damage or a power outage.
      • inspect the dirt grade around the exterior of your home. The land should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
      • Clean and dry outdoor furniture. Prepare for winter by covering it with a tarp or storing it indoors.
      • detach hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent damage.
      • Shut off all exterior faucets. Drain all water from any outdoor pipes.
      • Inspect decks for splintering, rot, or other damage. Repair or treat as needed to prevent problems from getting worse over the winter.
      • Clean all debris between the boards of wooden decks to prevent mold and mildew growth.
      • Inspect outdoor lighting. Good lighting can help prevent accidents when surfaces become icy.
      • Check the handrails around stairs to make sure they are in good condition.