No matter where you live, winter can signal a dip in temperatures and the possibility of unpredictable weather, including inches of snow and dangerous ice. Winterizing—from climates that expect snow and below-freezing temps for months to regions that experience a cooling off and unpredictable precipitation—can help your home withstand the ups, downs and erratic moods of Mother Nature. Use this list to make sure your home is ready for the season.
Pipes and water spigots
- Inside: Insulate any pipes close to exterior walls to help prevent freezing. Look for foam pipe sleeves with a slit that enables you to quickly cover pipes.
- Outside: Disconnect and drain hoses and turn off spigots. In addition, make sure sprinkler systems are turned off.
- Wash upholstery and frames. In northern climates, store both furniture and cushions in a covered spot free from moisture.
Windows and doors
- Inside: Add weather stripping to doors and caulk window gaps. Or, seal windows and doors with a DIY insulation product. Make sure all windows are locked to keep out as much cold air as possible. Finally, consult your local utility company about an energy assessment to determine where your home is losing energy and what energy-smart investments would make sense.
- Outside: Install storm windows and doors. Seal any windows on outdoor structures, too.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system
- Inside: Replace the filter on your furnace, and schedule a service call to make sure the unit is in good working order as you move from season to season. Program your thermostat to adjust the heat level when you are gone at work or school. Remove and store any portable window air conditioning units, and be sure to completely seal the window(s) once the unit is removed.
- Outside: Clear any debris or branches from the HVAC unit.
- Inside: Change direction of interior fans to clockwise rotation to circulate hot air from the ceiling down to the living space.
Fireplace and chimney
- If you plan to use it, schedule an inspection and service by a professional to make sure your chimney is clear of debris and your fireplace is in good working order.
- Inside: Place water- and dirt-trapping mats inside doors. Prepare an emergency kit for your vehicles (such as, a small shovel, kitty litter for icy driveways, warning flares and blankets). Also create an emergency kit for your home (such as, bottled water and batteries). Check flashlights to ensure they are functioning and charged.
- Outside: Make sure your snow shovels are free from cracks. Schedule the annual tune-up for your snow blower, if you have one.
- Clear any landscape debris and waste. Before leaves fall, inspect trees; if you notice any cracks or dead branches, call a local expert for an inspection.
- Visually inspect your roof, noting any missing or damaged shingles; consult a roof professional if needed. Ensure that all gutters are clean and securely attached.
- In northern climates, close up and secure both swimming pool and hot tub.
Alarms and lights
- Ensure that lights at doors (front, back, and garage) are functioning. Replace any burned-out bulbs with more efficient LED options.
Don’t forget: Smart home apps and amenities, such as a smart thermostat, can help you integrate winter management of your home into your everyday routine, helping you to trim energy costs and keep your home cozy too. Winterizing can help you enjoy indoor days, knowing you’ve done what you can to protect your living space through the season and aid in the overall maintenance and longevity of your home.
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