Getting your home ready for the cold season can be difficult when you don’t know where to begin. A winter preparation checklist can guide you and help you stay on top of what you need to do. With a checklist, you can ensure a safe and comfortable home throughout the harsh winter climate.
13 Items to Add to Your Winter Preparation Checklist
Winter can be a polarizing time for people. Some love it because it brings holiday cheer, while others despise it due to the cold temperature. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your home for the wintertime, making it a warmer and more comfortable season. Not only that, but winter preparation is absolutely paramount if you want to ensure the longevity of your home’s fixtures and minimize the damaging effects of the cold weather.
Here are the things you should include in your winter preparedness checklist for home.
1. Inspect Your Heating System
If you want to know how to get your home ready for winter, you should first have your heating system inspected. This is particularly integral if you live in a city that experiences cold temperatures. During the winter season, your heater is your best friend.
Basic maintenance goes a long way and helps keep your heating system in good condition throughout the season. Your furnace filter should get a change if it looks filthy, and the furnace itself should have a thorough cleaning every year. While you can do this yourself, hiring a professional is best to avoid mistakes.
2. Seal Any Gaps
A big part of home preparation for winter is sealing any gaps or openings that could let cold air inside. This means checking your doors and windows and inspecting your home’s walls. If there are any air leaks, cold air could seep into the house and make it harder for your heater to function efficiently. You can seal off any gaps using caulk or weatherstripping.
3. Check Your Roof
When getting your home ready for winter, your roof should always get a good check. Have your roof inspected at least twice a year to identify any signs of damage. If your roof has holes, cold air, and snow will find their way into your home. Checking your roof will let you spot problem areas and make necessary repairs ahead of time. Ultimately, you will save more money on major repairs and replacements while keeping winter comfortable for everyone.
4. Inspect Your Chimney
If you want to know how to prepare for winter, a chimney inspection is something you shouldn’t forget. Homeowners tend to get the most use out of their chimneys during this time of the year, so you must ensure yours remains functional. Check your chimneys, vents, and fireplaces. They will likely need a good sweeping and cleaning.
If you have a gas fireplace, check for any blockages or debris. Removing blockages will allow all the smoke to escape and keep residents safe. You should also inspect your gas lines and vents to identify any leaks that pose hazards. As always, hiring professionals to do this for you is better.
5. Test the Sump Pump
The sump pump serves a very important role — it ensures that water drains properly away from the house and foundation. Before winter fully sets in, have a professional inspect and test your sump pump. If you can’t find a pro, turn to the owner’s manual of your sump pump and follow the basic maintenance instructions.
6. Clean Your Gutters
One of the most crucial winter home tips is to clean your gutters. Your gutters catch a multitude of dirt and debris every season, so they may be clogged before the start of winter. Remove all that gunk and trash to prevent water damage, loosened gutters, and ice dams. Clogged gutters also attract various pests, so you can keep them away with a thorough cleaning.
7. Shut Exterior Faucets and Sprinklers
Pipes can freeze in extremely low temperatures, even causing them to burst. Before temperatures drop this winter, drain your exterior faucets and turn them off. This also means disconnecting garden hoses and shutting off your sprinkler system. As an added precaution, protect your pipes with insulation. Burst pipes are not only messy to deal with but can also be very expensive.
8. Stock Up on Winter Supplies
Make sure to stock up on winter necessities for home and emergency use. Before winter comes, check your winter equipment and tools, such as snow shovels and deicers. If you don’t have enough, head to your local home improvement store.
9. Store Outdoor Furniture
Patios add a lot of beauty to a home, but they can experience a beating during winter. To combat this, bring in all of your outdoor furniture. Clean them thoroughly first before storing them in your garage or shed. If you don’t have enough storage space, use a sturdy cover to protect outdoor furniture.
10. Test Safety Alarms
To prepare your home for winter, you must not forget to test all safety alarms. This includes smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. You tend to use your fireplace more than usual this time of the year. With all the doors and windows closed due to the harsh temperature, there is a greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If smoke can’t escape and accumulates inside your home, it can be lethal.
11. Clean Your Yard
Another thing to add to your home winter prep checklist is to clean your yard. Remove all fallen branches, leaves, and dead plants from your yard or lawn. This will help prepare your lawn for aeration.
Additionally, you should prune your trees before winter is in full swing. Removing dead, rotting, or falling branches will ensure everyone’s safety. Snow can accumulate on branches and cause them to break. When this happens, the fallen branch could hurt a pedestrian, damage a vehicle, or even your roof.
12. Insulate Your Attic
You want to keep your home warm this winter season. Remember that hot air rises to the top, so an uninsulated attic will allow heat to escape more quickly. To prevent this from happening, insulate your attic or have a professional do it for you.
13. Prepare for Winter Storms
Lastly, your winter preparation checklist should include winter storm precautions. Stay on top of weather forecasts so you’ll immediately know if a storm is coming. This way, you can give yourself enough time to get ready.
Home and car emergency kits are absolutely essential. You should have these kits ready to go at all times. Take your car to the mechanic before winter to ensure it’s functioning well. While you’re at it, get a full tank of gas, too. Consider buying a portable generator for your home as a backup power source as well.
A Good Way to Start
A winter preparation checklist can go a long way in helping you get ready for harsh weather and freezing temperatures. Check off these items one by one to ensure you don’t forget a thing.
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