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Home Winterization Checklist: How to Keep Your House Safe and Warm This Season

November 15, 2023

You know you need to winterize your home, but do you know what you need to do and how to do it?

Getting your house and property ready for the snow, ice and rain will help to ensure that the structure of your house remains sound, barring any unusual conditions, throughout the winter. Winterizing your home may also reduce gas and electric bills while keeping your home warmer.

The following home winterization checklist will help you get started.

1. Make sure your home is properly insulated and sealed.

One of the most important things to do is to go through various areas of your home to make sure they are insulated or sealed properly.

  • Check the walls, floors and ceilings for cracks.
  • Inspect the attic roof and floor thoroughly. Heat can escape from the home into the attic, and ice dams can form if the attic is not properly insulated and ventilated.
  • Run your hands around your windows and doors. If you feel a draft, use weather stripping to seal cracks. Don’t forget to inspect attached garages.
  • Check your pipes and make sure they are properly insulated. Foam pipe sleeves or foam tubing can help. However, this can be a tedious and possibly dangerous process, so consider hiring a contractor.
  • Using foam gaskets or similar materials, seal electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls to prevent drafts.

2. Have your heating system inspected by a professional.

Inspect and clean filters in your HVAC system, humidifier and air purifier. Hire a professional to inspect your system. HVAC systems that are not cleaned can lead to respiratory issues and excess dust in your home, and they can raise utility costs.

3. Clear gutters and downspouts.

Gutters and downspouts that are clogged with leaves and other debris can cause extensive damage to your home, especially when combined with the cycle of water freezing, expanding and melting over the winter. Use a gutter cleaning tool, such as a telescoping gutter cleaner wand, to remove the debris. You will also need a ladder and work gloves. If you don’t feel safe handling this on your own, hire a professional contractor.

4. Inspect your roof.

Visually inspect your roof for missing shingles, leaks or other damage. Hire a professional roofing contractor for a more thorough inspection.

5. Hire a chimney sweep.

Remove dirt and debris from your chimney, especially if you have or plan to use your fireplace often. The soot can lead to respiratory issues and excess dust if not properly cleaned. Creosote is highly combustible, so clogged or dirty chimneys also pose a fire hazard. Make sure a professional chimney sweep inspects your solid fuel venting system and sweeps and repairs it if needed.

6. Install a programmable thermostat.

This is something easy to do to keep your home at an optimal temperature and save money on your utility bills. Program the thermostat to hold a lower temperature during sleep time or when no one is home. For times when you are home, a setting of 72 degrees is OK, but try to keep it lower, ideally 68 degrees.

7. Prepare your lawn equipment.

Safely drain gasoline out of your leaf blower and lawnmower. If not, the chemicals may freeze and damage the equipment. Afterward, place them safely out of the way in your shed or garage, as you likely won’t be needing them for several months. This is a good time to check on your snowblower as well to make sure it’s functioning properly.

Additional Tip: Prepare an Emergency Kit for Your Car

Remember to pack the essentials in your car in case of emergencies, including:

  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Blankets
  • Bottled water
  • A spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
  • Jumper cables
  • Emergency flares, reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible in the dark
  • Reflective vest
  • Shovel for snow removal
  • Ice scraper/snow brush
  • Phone chargers
  • Multi-purpose toolkit
  • First aid kit containing bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, nitrile or latex gloves, pain reliever and other essentials for emergency care
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Windshield washer fluid

Remember to keep your insurance information and family and emergency phone numbers in your car as well.

If you need repair services, contact our emergency restoration team now. We are available 24/7 for emergency repairs.