10 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Whether winter will be warm, wet or snowy, here are some quick tips to get your home and family ready:

WHN TIP – Snowed In: Be prepared in case you’re snowed in for a few days. Have enough food, water, medications and other special needs for at least 72 hours.

WHN TIP – Firewood: Never store more than a few pieces of firewood indoors. Storing firewood indoors may release harmful contaminants.

WHN TIP – Insulate Me: Ask the staff at your local home improvement center how much insulation is recommended in your area, then check your attic insulation to make sure it’s adequate.

  1. Stay warm: Have extra blankets on hand and make sure that each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots.
    • Live in an area with regular snowfall and cold temperatures? Add long underwear and snow pants to the list.
  2. Back-up plan: Store flashlights, matches and firewood in easy-to-reach locations in case of a power failure.
  3. Get ready: Prepare a readily available and fully stocked Home Disaster Preparedness Kit. Add winter items to your Car Emergency Kit while you’re at it.
  4. Keep it tight: Check that the doors and windows shut tightly.
    • Add or replace worn weather-stripping around doors and windows, install caulking and weather-stripping around entry points for pipes and ducts that travel through an exterior wall.
  5. Stuff it in: Proper attic insulation keeps your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  6. Heat it up: Heating sources are a major cause of winter fires. Be sure to have your furnace checked out by a professional. And don’t leave your space heaters on while you sleep! They could easily fall over and start a fire.
  7. Down the chimney: Have your chimney or flue inspected each year by a qualified inspector.
    • Close the chimney damper when not in use. Remember to open it before lighting a fire.
  8. Check the temp: Consider buying a setback thermostat that will allow you to set temperatures lower when sleeping or when you’re away from home.
    • Temperatures inside your house should be at least 55 degrees. Ongoing, indoor temps lower than 55° will not prevent the pipes from freezing, according to the Red Cross.
  9. Trim the tree: Trim tree limbs that are hanging over or touching the roof. Winter storms can bring high winds or heavy accumulation of ice that will snap limbs.
  10. Bring it in: Get the outdoors winter-ready.
    • Drain garden hoses, roll them up and store them inside.
    • Close and cover the swimming pool.
    • Cover outdoor furniture or store it inside.