With fall well underway, you can now enjoy all the season has to offer. But remember – with each passing day, temperatures are dropping. You’ll want to seal up your house and complete your outdoor chores while we still have some nice weather. Depending on where you live, it can be downright miserable trying to finishing your winter tasks once the biting cold arrives. Prepare now and you’ll avoid the uphill battle to keep your house warm, as that first snowstorm blows in. Make sure to prepare your home for winter weather with our convenient checklist below.
How to Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather
1. Clean and Inspect Your Chimney, Order Firewood
The warm glow and crackling sounds of a burning fireplace are delightful, cozy treats during the winter months. And if you’re up for a challenge, you could even try cooking a meal in your wood-burning fireplace! In order for your chimney and fireplace to work safely and efficiently, make sure you get them inspected and cleaned by a professional, once a year. They will be able to identify any repairs or maintenance needed. Also, remember to stock up on enough firewood. And to ensure a smooth fire building process, take the time to split large logs into smaller pieces for easier burning. And if you want to skip that whole ordeal, there are firewood delivery services these days. But if you want your firewood delivered this winter, don’t delay, because they can get very busy this time of year.
2. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Winter months see a rise in home fires and carbon monoxide leaks. Furnaces, water heaters, central heating systems, blocked chimneys, burning fuel in unventilated spaces, candles, open fires, boilers, and space heaters are the top culprits of home fires and carbon monoxide leaks. FEMA suggests checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a month. This becomes especially imperative during the winter months when you’re using heaters more often. Nearly all detectors have a test button, so it will only take you a few seconds to test it and get that peace of mind. And last but not least, try to get into the habit of replacing the batteries and cleaning all your detectors, once a year.
3. Check Heating System
You won’t want to be without heat when the weather drops below freezing – make sure you have your heating system inspected and fixed if needed. Remember to change your filters and keep up on routine maintenance.
4. Make Sure You Have Working Shovel/Salt Supply
It can be easy to forget during the warm months, but make sure you have plenty of salt and a sturdy, working shovel for when the snow hits. You won’t want to get stuck in your driveway when the snow piles up, or risk a slip and fall on your icy steps.
5. Weather Radio for Winter Storm Coverage
Did you know your Midland weather radio warns you of more than tornadoes and hurricanes? The Midland WR120 Weather Radio features winter storm updates, including a Winter Storm Watch, Winter Storm Warning, Flash Freeze Warning, Snow Squall Warning, Freeze Warning, Extreme Wind Warning, Blizzard Warning, Avalanche Warning, and more.
In case your power gets knocked out during a storm, your weather radio will automatically switch to battery backup! So, you’re guaranteed to stay updated and informed at all times. We recommend that you keep your weather radio plugged in, that you set to your specific location as soon as you can, and remember to replace your batteries as needed.
6. Clean Out Gutters
As trees shed their pretty fall leaves, make sure you clean out your gutters. Leaves and sticks pile up quickly, clogging the gutters and blocking rainwater from draining efficiently. This is a necessary but sometimes forgotten task to complete before winter. Clogged gutters can cause leaky roofs and water damage to your home. Choose a pleasant fall day for this outdoor chore or hire a service to do it for you.
7. Insulate Walls and Attics
Drafty rooms and high energy bills are often the fault of poor insulation. Protect your home from the outside cold by insulating your walls and attic. You can hire a company to install fiberglass insulation, or you can DIY certain spots with injection foam insulation. You’ll also want to install insulation on the floor of your attic to keep your home warm during the winter months and cool during the summer months.
8. Seal Your House by Caulking and Weather-Stripping
Make sure none of that frigid winter air makes its way into your cozy home by caulking cracks and weather-stripping windows and doors. You can easily caulk any gaps that may be letting in the air—such as around outlets, switches, lighting fixtures, and baseboards. You can also install weather-stripping around your doors and windows to make sure no cold air leaks in. This is a cost-effective way to make sure your home is properly heated.
9. Roof Inspection
Professionals recommend a roof inspection twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. Routine roof inspection and maintenance can save you tons in the future. Make sure your roof is prepared for heavy snow, high winds, and intense rain before winter strikes. If you know you are due for a new roof, try to schedule this before the temperatures dip even lower.
10. Shut Off Outside Water Valves
Burst pipes from frozen water can be a real headache – make sure your outside water faucets are turned off and the pipes emptied by the time winter rolls in. Remove any attached hoses and drain the water inside, before storing them for the winter. Locate your home’s outdoor water shut-off valve. After turning it off, make sure to drain any remaining water in the pipe and the inside valve.
11. Prepare for a Power Outage
You never know when a mighty winter storm will knock out the power – or for how long. Make sure you keep a good stock of items that you will need in a power outage. This includes gallons of water (enough for your family members and pets), non-perishable food, plenty of pet food, manual can openers, flashlights, glow sticks, spare batteries, and of course, a Midland weather radio.
If you are looking forward to the chillier temps and snow-filled days of winter, then good news – it’ll be here before you know it. But if you’re a homeowner (this list also applies to apartments or other styles of living), then you know you have a lot to do to get your home ready for winter. Try to complete this checklist in the fall when you can still work outside in more comfortable temperatures.