A good rule of thumb: When you change your clocks back for the fall Equinox, it’s also time to prepare your home for winter. We have some great tips on securing any home for the harsh and not so harsh winter months. For example, did you know that you should consider using extra insulation in the attic if temperatures fall below 32 degrees to keep the heat from escaping? How about keeping the thermostat set to at least 55 degrees, even when you leave for vacation? Read more tips on our blog about how to winterize your home in these cool upcoming months. 

1. Furnace Inspection

  • Inspect your furnace and clean ducts
  • Stock up on furnace filters and change it monthly
  • Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace

2. Get the Fireplace Ready

  • Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds
  • If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote
  • Buy firewood or chop wood and remember to store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing

3. Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows

  • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and seal if found
  • Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering your home
  • Replace windows with cracked glass
  • If your home has a basement, consider protecting the window wells by covering it with plastic shields
  • Install storm windows if they are needed

4. Inspect Roof, Gutters and Downspouts

  • If your weather temperature falls below 32 degrees in the winter, add extra insulation to the attic to prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams
  • Replace worn roof shingles or tiles
  • Clean gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris
  • Consider installing leaf guards to gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from your home

5. Service Weather-specific Equipment

  • Drain remaining gas from lawnmowers
  • Service or tune-up snow blowers
  • Replace worn rakes and snow shovels
  • Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment
  • Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt or sand

6. Check Foundations

  • Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation around your home
  • Secure crawlspace entrances

7. Prevent Plumbing Freezes

  • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off during an emergency
  • Drain all garden hoses
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes
  • Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees

8. Prepare Landscaping and Outdoor Surfaces

  • Trim trees especially if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires
  • Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury
  • Plant spring flower bulbs
  • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks
  • Cut back on vegetation. and don’t automatically remove all dead vegetation from gardens as some provide attractive scenery in an otherwise dreary, snow-drenched yard
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area