Winter is coming! Snow, ice, and cold temperatures can be tough on a house. Complete the tasks on this list to be sure your home can weather the winter. Preventative maintenance is always easier and less expensive than emergency repairs.
Get a Furnace Tune-Up
Before winter arrives, call your trusted HVAC company and schedule a furnace tune-up. This will help your furnace operate efficiently and without problems this winter. Be sure to call early in the season, when HVAC companies aren’t as busy, for cheaper rates and better appointment times.
Replace Your Furnace Filter
Start the winter off with a clean furnace filter. A clean filter helps your furnace operate more efficiently and will cut down on dust and allergens circulating in your home. Be sure to change your filter as indicated in your furnace’s instruction manual (usually once every month).
Check for Air Leaks and Add Insulation
Air leaks will let cold air in and warm air out of your home. Check for air leaks around windows and doors and use caulk to seal up leaks. Be sure that your attic has enough insulation. Warm air escaping out of the top of your home can cause ice dams to form—which can cause serious damage your house.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
Your ceiling fans likely have a switch that reverses the rotation of the blades. Fan blades that turn clockwise help circulate warm air that pools at the ceiling.
Snow and ice sitting on dead or weak tree branches can cause the branch to fall and bring down power lines or damage the exterior of your home. Whipping winter winds can cause tree branches to smack up against your siding or roof line, so be sure to trim back branches that are touching your house.
Replace Missing or Damaged Shingles
Missing or damaged shingles can lead to water leaks in winter—when snow is often sitting on the roof. Inspect your roof with a pair of binoculars and replace all missing and damaged shingles.
Drain Your Irrigation System and Turn Off Exterior Water Sources
To avoid leaks and frozen pipes, your yard’s irrigation system needs to be drained and shut off. Exterior water faucets can burst in the cold so be sure to turn them off before cold weather arrives.
Add Extensions to Downspouts
Your downspouts should lead water at least 3 feet away from your home’s foundation. The ground expands and contracts a lot during winter and water that pools by your house can lead to significant foundation problems.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters need to be kept free of debris in order to work properly. After all the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters thoroughly so melting snow and ice can drain properly.
Sweep Your Chimney
Before using your fireplace, call a chimney sweep to clean it. If a chimney is dirty or vents are blocked, it can cause a chimney fire or a carbon monoxide leak inside your home. This is a small expense that is well worth the safety it provides.
Check Smoke Detectors
Fire risk increases in winter with the use of furnaces, fireplaces, and ovens. Be sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition and have new batteries. If you don’t already have fire extinguishers in your house, buy one for each floor.
Have Snow Gear Ready
Stock up on snow melt. Locate your snow shovel and place it in a convenient location. Make sure your snowblower is in good working condition. If it needs repairs, have them done now. Don’t forget the fuel to use it. When the first snow arrives, you’ll be glad you acted early.
Here are related resources you may find helpful:
Expert Advice for Preparing Your Home for Winter by David Cronnin
Energy Saving Tips for Winter to Save You Money and Keep You Comfy! by David Cronnin
Maintenance Tips For Homeowners by Bill Gassett
12 Tips to Winterizing Your Home by Tammy Emineth for Cooper Design Builders
6 Ways to Warm up Your Home This Winter by Radwa Madkour for HouseHunt.com
Fire Prevention in the Home: Safety Tips by Teresa Cowart
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: Home Ownership Tips by Barb Botititta