Jack Frost and Old Man Winter are going to come knocking before you know it, looking for a warm spot to hang out. They can be inconsiderate guests who make a mess of the inside and outside of your home. After you’ve worked through our checklist to get your lawn and garden ready for fall, use this checklist to get your home ready for the coming colder temperatures, ice and snow. We’ve made it an easy download for you to print off and use.
Getting the outside of your home ready for fall and winter is about making it as ready as possible to withstand the cold, snow and ice the changing seasons will bring.
Drain and Shut Off Water
Drain or blow out outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads to prevent freezing water and burst pipes. Shut off water going to outside faucets, and cover them.
After their last use, disconnect and wrap hoses, and store them to prevent cracking.
Check and Clean Out Gutters
Make sure gutters are securely attached so heavy snow and ice don’t pull them away from the house. Clean out gunk that’s accumulated to prevent clogging, leaks and ice dams.
Inspect the Roof
Missing or damaged shingles or flashing can lead to leaks in your home. Fix or replace shingles, and seal joints where water could get in with a caulk gun or roofing cement.
Check Vents and Openings
When the temperature has you wrapped in blankets, varmints are looking for the same kind of warmth. Make sure all openings and vents are adequately covered to keep rodents, birds and insects outside where they belong.
Prune Close-Hanging Tree Branches
Do a house walk-around looking for tree branches that are hanging over or close to your home or electrical wires. Trimming the branches (or having professionals do it) can prevent heavy snow and winds from breaking them off.
The cold will do its best to join you inside the house, so preparing is mostly about keeping that cold outside.
The cold is crafty, and if there’s a crack or gap, it will find it and let loose with drafts. Hold a lit candle near doors, windows, skylights, openings around vents, fixtures, light switches and plugs to check for drafts. Add or replace weather stripping, caulk or foam sealer around doors and windows.
Check the Furnace
Catch any potential problems with your furnace to prevent a nasty surprise on a sub-zero day. Have it serviced — cleaned and checked — before the temperatures have you turning it on.
Protect Your Pipes
Wrap pipes that are more apt to freeze and burst — those exposed in basements, crawl spaces or attics — with insulation.
Clean the Chimney
Don’t have a bigger fire in your fireplace than you want. Have a professional check and clean your chimney. It’s also a good time to make sure there aren’t drafts when the damper is closed.
Change Ceiling Fan Settings
Flip the switch on your ceiling fans so the blades rotate clockwise. That helps push warm air down to keep your heating bill down as well.