Winter is coming!
Are you prepared? Can your home withstand snow, rain, wind, and all the other fun things that accompany the winter season?
Don’t just assume everything is fine. By taking a few precautionary steps, you can ensure that you’re ready for anything winter throws at you.
Read on for a winter checklist that will tell you the ten most important things homeowners need to do to get their home ready for the winter.
The Ultimate Winter Checklist
It can be hard to figure out where to begin when it comes to getting your house ready for winter. Follow this checklist to make sure you’re prepared for snow, rain, dropping temperatures, and everything else that comes with the winter season.
1. Check Your Chimney
If your house has a chimney, you need to make sure you’re getting it cleaned and inspected regularly.
Ideally, you’ll do this every 70 fires. If you’re burning wet wood, it should be inspected every 50 fires.
If you haven’t been keeping track of the number of fires you’ve burned, a good way to tell if your chimney needs to be cleaned is to simply run your fireplace poker along the inside of the chimney liner.
If you pull back 1/8 of an inch or more of buildup, you need to call a chimney sweep.
2. Check Your Thermostat
Your heating and air conditioning unit also need to be at the top of your priority list when you’re preparing for winter.
Have a technician come out to inspect your furnace to make sure it’s clean and in good shape. They can also take care of any repairs that could cause problems later on in the winter.
Do this early, before the weather gets cold.
It’s also helpful to automate your thermostat to make sure your home stays at a consistent temperature during the winter. This will help you ensure you and your family stay comfortable, and you’ll save money on your heating bill!
3. Drain and Disconnect the Garden Hose
If you leave your garden hose connected and full of water, it’s going to freeze and could break open the spigot and/or the hose.
Unless you want to pay to replace these — and potentially deal with an indoor flood — take a moment to disconnect the garden hose and drain it before putting it away for the winter.
4. Prepare Your Sprinklers
You also need to make sure your sprinkler system is properly winterized. Some steps you should take include:
- Drain the system and pump
- Turn off the water supply
- Blow out the compressor
This can be a bit of a labor-intensive process. But, it’s much better to take care of it now than it is to have to deal with damaged pipes, valves, and other parts of the system when spring rolls around.
5. Clean Your Attic Venting
Climb up to your attic, too, to make sure the ventilation is clean.
Poor attic ventilation will lead to ice dams and increases your chances of dealing with mold. Your shingles will also have a shorter lifespan and will be more likely to become damaged when the weather warms back up.
Clean out your vents with compressed air or a leaf blower. You can also use a pressure washer. But, it’s important to avoid over-saturating the insulation with water.
6. Empty Flower Pots
If you have glass, clay, or ceramic pots outside your house, be sure to empty them before winter arrives.
If you leave them out and filled all winter, they’ll likely freeze and end up cracked or broken.
If you don’t want to deal with emptying the pots, at least make sure the soil is dry and cover them carefully. You can also take your flower pots indoors if you have space.
7. Inspect Your Roof
Unless you like the idea of a leak or a collapsing roof, you need to climb up there and inspect it for potential issues.
Get rid of debris and take note of any damaged shingles or tiles. Get these repaired as soon as possible so your roof is sealed and secure all winter long.
It’s also important to check the flashing along the roof around skylights, chimneys, and vents. It’s easy for water to pool up around the areas and cause leaks, so you need to make sure the flashing is in good shape.
8. Trim Your Trees
If you have any trees around your home, trim back overhanging branches and remove any dead ones.
Not only will this improve the appearance of your yard, but it will also protect your home.
Dead trees or low-hanging branches could fall on your home and damage your roof or windows after a heavy snowfall or windstorm.
9. Check Gutters and Downspouts
While you’re inspecting your roof, you’ll also need to check your rain gutters and downspouts (the part of the rain gutter that hangs down toward the ground and allows water to drain out).
Get rid of leaves and other debris that might be clogging up your gutters or downspouts. If they’re clogged, the problem will only get worse when winter hits and things freeze over.
You also should make sure your rain gutters are securely fastened and don’t have any cracks or other damage.
10. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Finally, if you have ceiling fans, reverse them so the blades spin clockwise.
When your ceiling fan blades spin clockwise, they send air upward. This disrupts warm air that can collect near the ceiling and helps disperse it downward.
By doing this, you can warm up your home and turn down your thermostat a bit.
It’s especially helpful to reverse your ceiling fan in rooms that have fireplaces, stoves, or vaulted ceilings.
Are You Looking for More Home Maintenance Tips?
Keep this winter checklist in your back pocket so that you know your house is ready to go when winter rolls around.
Are you looking for more tips to maintain your home and keep it in good shape all year long?
Be sure to check out the home and garden section of our website. You’ll find all the information you need in one convenient place!