How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter in 5 Steps

It’s never a pleasant topic, but the changing of seasons always demands a bit of preparation. Of course, each season has its own highlights and pitfalls. One of winter’s highlights is the beauty of nature, but the drawbacks all revolve around unwanted water, ice, and snow inside and outside your home. Here’s how to get your home ready for winter in five steps.


Check on Your Furnace

Because you haven’t used your furnace since last winter, it may need a checkup before temperatures drop. Consider checking out your system — running it for a bit of time — before you need it this winter. It’s considerably more comfortable to schedule a furnace repair for summer or fall than to wait until the snow is three feet high. Sears recommends preventative furnace maintenance such as testing the thermostat, changing air filters, cleaning the heat exchanger, and ensuring your carbon monoxide detectors are functional.


Plan for a Fireplace Inspection (and Cleaning)

A dirty fireplace (and chimney) can result in a dangerous situation the first time you place a log on the hearth. As HomeAdvisor explains, creosote buildup can pose a fire hazard, but a lack of maintenance may also mean animals have moved into your chimney or flue. Since heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in the U.S., the National Fire Protection Association recommends yearly chimney checks. If you have a fireplace, consider having a professional inspect and clean it before starting the first fire of the season.


Cleaning Gutters and Checking the Roof

Mid-winter is the worst time to realize your gutters are full of leaves from autumn. Water begins to build up and snow can add extra weight that wears your home’s exterior down. Ideally, your gutters should allow the water to run freely through them — keeping moisture away from your home’s structure. A roof with debris on it is also unsafe, so before winter arrives, get out the ladder and check on everything up top.

Clean out the gutters, remove any debris from the roof, and check for any weak areas or spots where water may puddle. Avoiding ceiling leaks starts with ensuring your roof is watertight, something you can do long before the rainy season arrives.


Insulate Your Pipes

Depending on your local climate, your pipes may be at risk for freezing many times this winter. If a lack of water ruined last winter’s coziness for you, plan on insulating your pipes before temperatures drop. Plan on insulating pipes that run through unheated areas of (or below) your home. The Spruce recommends insulation materials such as:

      Strips of pipe wrap

      Foam pipe sleeves

      Faucet covers (for outdoor spigots)

      Insulation in wall spaces with pipes inside

You can also insulate hot water pipes to prevent heat dissipation and energy loss.


Address the Smaller Items That Add Up

That draft under the door, your outdated thermostat, a ceiling fan that only spins one way — these things can’t affect your winter heating costs, can they? In fact, all these energy seepages can cost you big on your winter utility bill. Addressing the smaller energy draws around your house can help reduce costs while keeping you warm this winter.

You can check for air leaks and DIY weather stripping to winterize your doors and windows in one afternoon. The range of stripping materials is almost mind-boggling, but that means there are plenty of options to suit every home. Swapping out that outdated thermostat is another smart option. Energy-saving thermostats cut the heat when you’re not home but can crank it up when you arrive (or right before you get home).

Another small but impactful step is to check your ceiling fan to ensure it’s in the right mode for winter. A ceiling fan that moves clockwise (at low speeds) creates an updraft that warms cold air. Plus, as Bob Vila highlights, this can save you up to 15 percent on heating bills.


By acting before winter hits, you’ll be warm and cozy in your home as the first snowflake (or torrential downpour) falls. Plus, you will know your house is as safe as possible going into one of the most dangerous times of the year.

Photo via Pixabay