Preparing Your Home For The Winter: The Only Checklist You Will Need


white house, lots of snow on the ground


Winter is right around the corner, but most homeowners aren't ready for the chilly weather. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the winter of 2021 was one of the costliest for homeowners, costing a record $15 billion in insured losses. So what does it take to get your home winterized?

In this guide, we walk you through ten key steps you need to take to make sure that your home, plumbing, and even your landscaping are ready for the colder weather.

Let's jump right In with the basic preparation you'll need to stay warm and ensure your home is properly prepared this winter.


1. Gather Your Winter Supplies

There are some basic supplies that you will need to get you through the winter. You want to make sure that you pick these up before things start to get too cold.

Keep in mind, this list is just for starters. You should fill it out with things that will help make sure that you're not only comfortable, but safe during these cold months.

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Enough water for each person for three days
  • A days worth of snacks
  • Blankets and warm clothes
  • A few extra days supply of any medications
  • Snow tools like shovels and ice scrapers
  • Salt for paths and driveways
red pillow, open window, drink, candle

You should also get some fire safety supplies. The winter is the season with the most fires. Knowing some basic at-home fire safety. Is one of the most important things you can do this winter.


2. Change the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans

Did you know that you can change the directions that your ceiling fan spins? Here's how it works.

Set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise during the winter. This creates a downdraft that pushes the rising hot air back down into the room.

In the summer, switch your ceiling fans to their counterclockwise setting. This pulls the cold air up and circulates it throughout your room.


3. Inspect Your Roof

You need to make sure that your roof is in good shape for the winter. An experienced roofing contractor can help make sure that there's no serious damage that could cause a major problem as ice and snow start to build up.

You should also make sure that the insulation in your roof is ready for the winter. Old insulation might have mold or not be ready to retain heat during cold months.


4. Test Your Furnace

You need to give your furnace a quick test before winter sets in. Make sure that it turns on and it can heat up your home before you need it to make it through the coldest months of the year.

You can also get a HVAC technician to give your furnace a quick inspection. They'll be able to spot any hard to find issues that might pop up during winter.


5. Seal Doors and Windows

Doors and windows can cause serious drafts during the winter. There are a few things you can do to help make sure that they stay sealed and you stay warm.

Windows can be sealed by using a clear window sealing kit. You could also run a bead of silicone caulk on the outside of the window to seal any pesky gaps.

Sealing external doors is going to be a little bit more tricky. You can use weather stripping as well as door snakes to help stop any cold air from getting in.


6. Do You Have a Fireplace?

If you have a fireplace, there's a few more things that you need to take care of.

Your best bet would be to have a pro chimney-sweep to take a look, but you can do a quick inspection to make sure that there's no creosote buildup blocking your chimney. You should also make sure that everything is in working order including the flue.

Also take this time to make sure that you got all the supplies you need for your fireplace. This includes fire safety gear, but also enough logs, fire starters, and anything else you need to make it through the winter.

woman drinking in front of a window


7. It's Gutter Cleaning Time

Gutter cleaning might not be fun, but it is one of the most important things you can do to help winterize your home.

Ice and melting snow pose a serious threat to your home especially if the water starts to build up against your walls. Making sure that your gutters are clean means that any melting snow can freely flow and drain away from your home.

It also means that ice will have a harder time to build up in gutters which could create a dangerous situation.


8. Inspect Your Sump Pump

Speaking of draining water, you should also give your sump pump a quick test and inspection.

Your sump pump is responsible for draining water away from your home. When winter starts to thaw, there's a lot more water that needs to be drained away. Your sump pump can help prevent a flood during the last days of winter.


9. Landscaping and Outdoor Prep

One of the last things you need to do is make sure that the outside of your home is ready for winter.

Make sure to cover and bring in any lawn furniture, grills, or anything else that's been in your yard for the last three seasons. There's nothing worse than tripping over that forgotten rake in the middle of winter.

You should also check to make sure that your landscaping doesn't need any special winter precautions.


10. What to Look out for During Winter

The last 9 steps will get you ready for winter, but this one's all about what you need to do to stay on top of the ball during the coldest season of the year.

Here's a few things that you need to keep an eye on on the outside of your property.

  • Clear snow from driveways and walkways
  • Monitor the exterior of your home for ice damage and buildup
  • Keep some salt on hand to add traction to icy paths


There are also a few indoor things to keep an eye on.


  • If you notice a draft, address it right away.
  • Make sure filters are changed every three months to ensure optimal performance.
  • If you drive out often or use your garage as a workshop, consider getting a garage heater to make life more comfortable and convenient.
  • Keep interior doors open to encourage better heat and air circulation.


Wrapping Up Your Winter Checklist

Looking for more tips to keep you handy around the house? We've got all the tips you need to stay warm this winter.

Check out our other blogs for tips for making the most of your home this winter!