Preparing Your Home for Winter

Preparing your home for winter can increase comfort and reduce energy bills, help maintain property value, and ensure peace of mind during winter storms. Get started on home and garden winter preparation with this checklist. 

Winter Preparation Checklist 

1. Seal windows and doors - Air leaks around windows and doors suck hot air outside so you feel chilled even when the heat is turned up to a comfortable level. Seal air leak around windows and doors using weatherstripping and caulk; repair or replace broken or cracked glass; use storm doors and windows; and repair damaged window frames. 

2. Home heating - Schedule a fall tune-up for your furnace to ensure that it is operating at its most efficient this winter and forestall emergency repairs. An HVAC technician can inspect and clean all parts. You'll enjoy lower utility bills and greater comfort from this one task. 

3. Clean your yard - Yard work keeps your lawn and garden in good shape and reduces your risk of property damage during winter storms. Prune back shrubs and trees so branches are away from the house. Dig up frost-sensitive bulbs and stow them in the cellar. Clear weeds, rake the leaves, and mow the lawn one last time. When you've tended to the garden, clean and put away all lawn furniture; empty and and store planters. Finally, disconnect garden hoses and drain the faucets so your pipes do not freeze and burst this winter. 

4. Clean and check the gutter and roof - Taking the time to clean your gutters as winter approaches can prevent ice dams and leaks from threatening your home's integrity. Have the gutters professionally cleaned (or do it yourself) and cover all openings to prevent birds or squirrels from entering. If any gutters or downspouts are loose, re-secure them to prevent snow and ice from pulling them off the house and causing damage. If your roof is missing any shingles, have them replaced so melting snow does not leak in. Add extensions that bring downspouts away from your home by 5 feet or more to prevent basement flooding. 

5. Get winter supplies ready - Gather winter supplies and have them near the door, so you don't need to go out for de-icing salt in an emergency. Have ready a shovel, ice scraper, flashlight, and other essentials. If you use a snowblower, service it. If you hire a plow service, make sure you're on their list for the upcoming season. 

Tackle the items on this checklist before the first frost of the year. This way, you can schedule any needed home improvements before it is too late. 

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