What Should I Do To Get My Home Ready for Winter?

Several areas of North America are already seeing freezing nighttime temperatures and early snowfall, so if you haven't gotten your home ready for the upcoming winter, now is definitely the time. If you live in the southern U.S. and think you don't have to get ready for winter, think again. How many states do you think have never recorded a temperature below zero? We'll answer that question in a little bit, but here is a list of tips to get ready for the cold.

  1. Have your furnace inspected. Call an HVAC contractor to give your furnace a seasonal tune-up. Not only can this prevent problems during the heating season, it should help keep the utility bill down as well. Also, make sure to change the filter regularly.

  2. Inspect your chimney or have it swept. Chimneys used by fireplaces and appliances should be inspected for obstructions and working dampers.

  3. Check all exterior openings – windows, doors, vents and pipes. Check to make sure windows and doors close properly and are weather-stripped. Also, check to make sure vents are clear and wall penetrations made by vents and pipes are properly sealed.

  4. Inspect roof, gutters and downspouts. Inspect your roof for missing shingles and replace if needed. Also, make sure all flashings are fastened and caulk has not shrunk, clean leaves and debris out of gutters and ensure that downspouts are in place and secured.

  5. Visually check your foundation. Take a walk around your house and visually inspect your foundation by looking for cracks or other signs of settling. Seal small openings with caulk to prevent pests from entering and make sure crawlspace openings are properly covered.

  6. Prepare landscaping and outdoor surfaces. Clean debris and vegetation away from your house to keep pests and rodents away. Protect young trees and perennials from harsh temperatures and hungry animals.

  7. Add insulation in the attic. Attics aren't for storage anymore, they're for insulation. If your house is older, adding another layer of insulation is a quick return on investment.

  8. Reverse ceiling fans. Cathedral ceilings pose challenges for heating systems. Reversing a ceiling fan will re-circulate warmed air and help keep occupants more comfortable.

  9. Turn off water supply to exterior faucets and drain hoses. Burst water pipes usually aren't found when it's still cold; when temperatures warm and pipes thaw is when the nightmare and mess begin. Disconnect and drain hoses to extend their useful life.

  10. Prepare an emergency kit. The motto of The Boy Scouts of America is "Be Prepared". When the power goes out, you'll be thankful for having a bin of needed items: blankets, candles, matches, flashlights with batteries, first aid kit, manual can opener, non-perishable food and bottled water.

Now that you have determined to do everything on this list before the first snowflake hits your still green grass, you want to know the answer to the question posed earlier, don't you? Of course it's Hawaii, meaning that every other state in the U.S. and all of Canada can and have experienced really cold weather.

"What Should I Do To Get My Home Ready For Winter" article is reprinted and published with the permission of Marshall & Swift/Boeckh, LLC and its licensors, Copyright 2012. May not be reprinted or copied without Marshall & Swift/Boeckh's LLC prior permission.