40 WINTER TIPS – Things to consider doing to your home before winter

Winter technically starts December 21st, so we still have some time to prepare and get ready. We have a few lifetimes of experience to share on this topic, so we stuffed all of our ideas into one single list. You may find some of these tips as new ideas or you may be familiar with them. Either way, we hope you will find this list helpful as you prepare your home for winter.

Note: These are in no particular order! We feel they are all equally as important.

  1. Clean out gutters of leaves and debris
  2. Make sure downspouts where water comes out is clear so water can flow and this will help prevent ice back up at end of the down pipe
  3. Check roof for loose or missing shingles, check yard to see if any pieces of shingles are on the ground
  4. Remove exterior hoses
  5. Install exterior spigot covers over spigots
  6. Check around windows and doors to see that they are sealed and closing properly to help prevent air flow
  7. Clean windows and remove window screens- this will help more light come into your home on the dark days of winter
  8. Replace your furnace filter and humidifier pad if you have a humidifier
  9. Check water heater for water leaks
  10. Have your furnace serviced; in addition, remove any items placed to close the furnace and water heater.
  11. Place a cover over your exterior air conditioning condenser
  12. Place inside any furniture or items that may blow away that could go into a neighbor’s yard – including trampolines (we see them lifted and become a large projectile that can smash  into buildings)
  13. Check all smoke detectors for operation, replace batteries as needed. Don’t forget garage and attic spaces
  14. Make sure that there is a CO2 detector near the furnace and hot water heater; don’t forget the garage
  15. Check foundation vents around the home and close them
  16. Have a relative humidity/temp gage to read temps and RH inside and outside your home. Some homes need additional humidity placed in the air this can be accomplished by using a humidifier so that skim, hair, etc. does not get too dry and helps prevent nose bleeds if too dry. Remember to change the filter pads and keep these units clean.
  17. Good idea to check sump pump and make sure its operating correctly
  18. Mix quart of bleach and water and flush sump pump crock out
  19. Good idea to vacuum cold air returns and remove supply vents and vacuum. In the winter the furnace will run more with heating systems.
  20. Consider leaving the fan run on your furnace constantly to move air through the furnace system; this should help cut down on white dust. This will also help out with even heat distribution (help eliminate cold and warm spots).
  21. Consider cleaning and disinfecting carpeting in the house. Winter months we spend more time indoors and this will help create a cleaner environment.
  22. Clean ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can usually run in reverse to pull warm air from from the bottom of the floor up into ceiling areas especially in larger rooms with cathedral ceilings to even out the temperature in a room.
  23. Have fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage and basement. Generally it’s best to have one on each floor.
  24. Cover emergency plan and fire exit plans with your family
  25. Consider contingent plans if there are power outages
  26. Keep salt or ice melt on hand
  27. If you live alone have a check in buddy, someone you call or they call you to check on you from time to time.
  28. Check bathroom around exhaust fans, clean and vacuum them out as needed
  29. Consider who will maintain snow removal for winter months and have a backup plan
  30. Check exterior lights and replace bulbs as needed before winter
  31. Clean out dryer venting
  32. Make sure furnace and water heater exhaust venting is free to vent, clean out leaves and or debris.
  33. Clean and check fireplace. Have fireplace cleaned and inspected annually if wood burning and more frequently used.
  34. Stack wood away from your home. Wood can attract bugs that may find their way into your home when it gets cold outside.
  35. Check flashlight inventory
  36. It’s a good time to check up on your home owners insurance to make sure that you have adequate insurance.
  37. Clean out window wells if you have them.
  38. If you have a finished basement consider having a radon test done if not done so
  39. Remember in winter months we tend to spend more time indoors.
  40. Have a pet plan so that pets are not left out doors long in poor weather conditions.