10 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

by Susan Evans

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.

  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.

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.

Photo Credit: PxHere

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