As the holidays approach, so does the chill and other wintry perks. And if you’ll be home this winter rather than “snowbirding” some place warm, you’ll want to prepare your household accordingly. To help, read this quick and easy guide to make a checklist for winterizing your home.
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CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn how to winterize your home so you can fully enjoy the winter months without worry. You’ll Learn the indoor and outdoor tasks, including:
- What is Winterizing and Why You Need a Winter Preparation Checklist
- Clean the Gutters
- Check Your Home’s Insulation
- Trim Up the Trees
- Add Wintery Accents
- Inspect Your Yard & Outdoor Living Spaces
- Scan Your Roof for Damage
- Seal Gaps & Openings
- Get the Right Gear for Snow
- Oversee the Heating System
- Remove/Winterize the Air Conditioning
- Scrutinize and Refresh the Interior
- Order Firewood and Heating Oil
- Final Thoughts on Winterizing Your Home
No time to read through? Download this FREE Winterizing Your Home Checklist
What is Winterizing a House?
When you winterize a house, you take all the necessary steps to make sure it is prepared for cold temperatures and weather conditions. Sometimes, it refers to leaving a house vacant, in which you would turn off all the water, gas, and electricity for the season. But as someone who lives in New England knows, you must take steps to winterize the home you live in.
That’s what we’re talking about here: how to winterize your occupied home.
Why You Need A Checklist for Winterizing Your Home
It takes careful planning to ensure everything is in order when it comes to winterizing your house. Proper winterization involves taking care of a variety of indoor and outdoor tasks, from cleaning the vents and chimney to inspecting for drafts and other important steps.
It may be overwhelming to plan the right tasks to winterize your home, yet it’s all worthwhile to ensure you have trouble-free and enjoyable winter holidays.
For the most part, it doesn’t matter much which tasks you do first when winterizing a home–only that you review and get through as many as you can (especially the critical tasks) before the hard cold sets in.
Whether you wish to start with heating and insulation, or sprucing up your home’s interior décor so it feels more cozy, this descriptive winter preparation checklist makes the task easier and will help you stay organized. To make your planning even easier, download a comprehensive, printable checklist for winterizing your home here.
Now, read on to consider the tasks at hand.
Clean the Gutters
Once the last leaf falls from the trees, grab the ladder and head toward cleaning those gutters. This task is high on the home winterization checklist.
Because if you don’t clean the gutters properly, any remaining leaves will easily jam the gutters. As a result, they can overflow, causing water to run down your house and ruin both exterior and interior.
Worse, in cold temperatures, any stuck water freezes, causing ice-dams, which can break the gutters and cause water to seep into the interior.
Trust me, you don’t want a visit from the insurance adjuster during the holidays.
So, the best approach when you want to winterize your house is to be proactive to stop any water infiltration from melting snow.
It’s critical to clean your gutters properly before the cold sets in.
Check your Home’s Insulation
If you have properly installed and inspected insulation, you can look forward to steady, warm, and carefree winter days ahead.
You can easily insulate exterior outlets and replace outdated switch plates inside your home. But you might even want to check your home’s general insulation to see if you should upgrade the insulation system. Doing so can make a world of difference when it comes to the overall air-tightness of your home, including your basement, garage, and attic.
And, if your home is well insulated, you will be less likely to lose heat and have those awful ice-dams.
Plus, it will be a lot warmer and fuel-efficient without heat leaks.
Trim Up the Trees
Another necessary outdoor preparation often overlooked is to trim any trees close to your home or to your neighbor’s property.
Tree branches in sub-zero temperatures can actually burst. Those coated with heavy snow or ice could split or scratch against your house—or worse, fall on a passer-by’s head.
This makes assessing the risk of nearby trees and branches especially critical when winterizing a house.
For the easiest access, trim up any precarious or dead branches after the leaves fall but before winter sets in. (Make sure you leave any potentially dangerous limbing to the professionals.)
Doing so better ensures your home and guests will be safe from fallen branches in winter.
Add Wintry Accents – Indoors & Outdoors
Both the inside and the outside of your house will feel cozier if you add some wintery decorations. Now is the time to replace Autumn décor with winter-inspired accents as part of your winter checklist for home maintenance.
You might consider going beyond traditional holiday themes; any golden, reddish, and emerald colors in your decor will add a warm, festive feel to your home.
For instance, you might incorporate hand-crafted wall art, such as the golden Skull Bliss skulls, to transform your home’s interior in a more unique, upscale manner this season.
Additionally, you’ll want to put out some cozy blankets or faux-animal throws so they are on hand when the temperatures drop.
Don’t forget to add some outdoors decorations for winter, like wreathes or evergreen boughs and lights.
Whether your personal taste is understated or big and bold, be sure you reflect it in your wintry accents when it comes time to completing your home winterizing checklist.
Inspect Your Yard & Outdoor Living Spaces
It’s wonderful to have a welcoming outdoor living space to enjoy in the warm months when you’re home. At this time of year, though, it’s time to clean and cover or move the outdoor patio furniture to storage and finish winterizing your lawn and backyard for a smooth transition to the cold.
Like wise, don’t forget to add these items to your home preparation for winter:
- Cleaning, repairing, and covering up the grill equipment
- Winterizing a garden, flower beds, and other landscape plants
- Winterizing your sprinkler system
- Draining the water fountain
- Winterizing outdoor faucets or spigots
- Preparing landscape equipment (like winterizing your lawn mower, weedwacker, and rototillers) by draining the gasoline or adding a stabilizer.
- Preparing any water features on your property, like winterizing a pool, winterizing a hot tub, or winterizing a koi pond.
By meticulously following these steps now, you will ensure a safe and easy winter-to-summer transition, when the time comes.
Related Article: Discover these great ideas for winter fun at home if you plan to spend winter at home!
Scan the Roof for Defects
Even though it might not sound so crucial, inspecting the roof will make you sleep sounder during winter.
You only need to do a quick check and see whether there are any missing or damaged shingles, broken slate or tiles. If not, you can rest easy. And if so, you should set out to replace them before the winter arrives in earnest. This will ensure no wall or ceiling leakages due to heavy snow.
While you’re up there, have a look at the chimney and schedule a chimney cleaning, especially if you have a wood stove.
Seal Gaps & Openings
Another thing to add to your house winterization checklist as winter arrives is to seal up any gaps and openings. That includes unused fireplaces and all other holes and openings that might let in drafts and let out heat.
Similarly, unless you properly seal the doors and weatherize windows before the cold winter temperatures arrive, cold air will penetrate them too, and your heating bill will skyrocket.
So, be sure to stop the infiltration of the cold air through all air leaks by sealing the doors, weatherproofing windows for winter, and sealing off any other drafty openings.
Get The Right Gear for Snow
If you live in an area that gets snow in winter, don’t let it sneak up on you. It’s important to be prepared for the heavy snow in advance as part of your checklist for winterizing your home.
That means you’ll want to make sure you have enough salt and ice-melt for any icy spots that will form on the pavement and patio. If you have well water and prefer to avoid chemicals, you can stock up on sand or kitty litter instead.
You’ll also want to take inventory of your snow gear, like winter boots, gloves, and outerwear.
Be sure you get a good snow shovel or two (one invariably breaks), and if necessary, consider getting a snowblower to make your job easier.
If you already have a snowblower, check it well before it snows to make sure it starts up with no problems—and if necessary, get it serviced early.
If your driveway is particularly long or steep (or you’re just tired of shoveling!), it’s a good investment to hire someone who will plow it for you. Ask for recommendations from neighbors, as they may have someone reliable already plowing in the area. In that case, you might need to flag the perimeter of driveway with stakes ahead of time.There is no better peace of mind when the inches accumulate than knowing someone will be by to take care of the driveway for you after the storm.
Oversee the Entire Heating System
Your heating system is the most vital part of your winter preparation checklist. You’ll want to ensure that it’s in good working order in advance, so it will bring you safe, warm, and productive wintry days.
First, test out your furnace or heating system by turning on the heat early in the season so you can verify that it is working.
Next, check the function of all the thermostats in your home, programming them and replacing any batteries and air filters as needed,
Finally, inspect and clean the heating vents and registers.
It’s usually a good idea to call the seasonal maintenance technician to inspect and clean the entire system before winter. That way, you’re unlikely to end up with an emergency when the temperatures plummet.
Review the Air Conditioning System
If you haven’t already, it’s time to remove and inspect your window air conditioning units. Leaving them in the windows would let in tremendous drafts!
Another reason to take them out is because part of the condensing unit is outside and the cold winter months may ruin its function.
After its last use for the season, clean it out thoroughly, removing any debris and dirt to ensure a safe and effective usage once the cold months pass. Then, let the unit dry outside before storing it for winter. You might also want to replace, vacuum, or wash the filters so they are ready to go next summer.
Scrutinize and Refresh the Interior
Scrutinizing your home means preparing it adequately for the winter. If you have had any bathroom or kitchen leakages, you’ll want to seal and mend them all so the pipes won’t freeze and burst during extreme weather.
Additionally, if you happen to see any resulting rotten wood, whether that’s in your flooring or ceiling or elsewhere, it’s best to fix, paint and replace and refresh the faulty pieces.
You want your home to be in the best working order come the coldest months.
Order Firewood & Heating Oil
If your household still heats in the traditional manner with a fiery furnace, or if you just have a practical fireplace in your living room, you’ll want to make some extra preparations for winter.
This is the right time to order enough firewood so you’ll have a sufficient stack to keep you and your loved ones warm throughout the winter months.
Prior to ordering, clean the shack or holder where you’ll store the wood. Cover it to protect it from rain and snow. You might even layer up a few rows near the entrance and set up a wood box inside so you’ll always have dry wood always at your disposal.
You’ll also want to fill up your oil tank before the heating season and make sure to keep a path to the fill nozzle clear throughout the winter.
Related Article: Singles, not sure how to make the best of your staycation this winter? Find out here.
Final Thoughts Checklist for Winterizing Your Home
No matter if you are up to the task of full-blown maintenance or you just want to cover the basics, preparing your household for the upcoming winter is a job that every homeowner in a cold-weather climate must do.
Hopefully these tips on winterizing your home prove to be helpful. By reviewing this checklist for winterizing your home and taking the necessary steps, you will go through this winter with ease.
And if you’d like a printable checklist with more of the best ways to winterize your home, download this quick and easy guide.
What’s first on your checklist for winterizing your home this year? Will you do it yourself or are there things you think are best outsourced to professionals. Let us know in the comments below!
This article is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please see the following Disclosure.
Photo Credits: Stack of Chopped Wood – Stux, Icicles on Roof – 5598375, Wood Stove with Kettle – Diapicard (via Pixabay); Shovel by Door – Anna Hill, Faux Fur Blanket – Tamar Waskey, Outdoor Furniture in Snow – Myriams-Fotos, Snowy Roof – Knopka Ivy (via Unsplash)