Your 10-Step Winter Checklist: Home Edition

With this simple winter checklist, your house won’t take a backseat to holiday planning. Keep reading to find out the steps you can take to ensure that you and your home are ready to face the elements when the weather gets tough.

1. Make sure your furnace is in great working order.

Your very first to-do for the winter checklist is to call an inspector to look over your HVAC system. They’ll test its efficiency, check for carbon monoxide leaks and let you know about replacing any filters or parts. No one wants to be without working heat when temperatures dip down below freezing!

2. Take a closer look at your roof.

A strong, resilient roof becomes more important than ever when there’s a winter storm warning. Carefully check your roof for any loose flashings, missing or damaged shingles and debris from nearby trees. You may need to replace these flashings and shingles and add rubber underlayments to prevent ice dams.

3. Shut off all exterior water supply.

Forgetting to shut off the water supply to your irrigation system can result in disaster when water expands inside. Turning the valve to “off” and winterizing your system can help you avoid cracked pipes, leaky seals and broken valves in the spring. See our handy guide to get started on this aspect of the winter checklist.

4. Stock up on salt and other essentials.

It isn’t unheard of for stores to run out of cold weather essentials in the face of an impending storm. Stock up now on salt, sand and pet-safe ice melt so you aren’t caught off-guard when you need them most.

5. Have your chimney cleaned.

Don’t light that cozy fire yet. Your chimney or wood burning stove needs cleaned, inspected and tested yearly. Have a professional check the vents and be sure everything is in good working order to avoid fatal chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks.

6. Feel for drafts.

Drafts can come in from surprising sources, like electrical outlets. Check all windows and doors and winterize the areas as needed with film or seals. You may need to caulk the exterior of your home if there are large gaps between siding and window or door frames.

7. Check the attic.

Attic ventilation and insulation problems account for the majority of damage to your home’s roof during winter. This is because warm air escaping the home can cause ice and snow at the peak of the house to melt, flow downward and collect under the shingles and gutters as ice dams. A poorly insulated attic also means a chillier home, an overworked furnace and a higher bill. Call a professional to add or replace insulation and check that your attic is properly ventilated.

8. Clean the gutters.

Clogged gutters can prevent water from flowing away from the house and lead to ice dams, severe roof damage and the formation of dangerous icicles. Remove all leaves and dirt from gutters to extend the life of your roof and keep your home safe.

9. Protect pipes from freezing.

Plumbing is especially susceptible to freezing in cold winter weather. Insulate any exposed pipe in the attic, crawlspace or exterior walls with materials like electrical heating tape and foam. Results can vary, so be sure to check which materials are recommended for the pipes in your home before beginning.

10. Cover, store and winterize outdoor accessories and additions.

Winter can do a number on your deck and patio. You’ll want to cover any patio furniture, and if you have room to store it in a garage or shed, even better. You should also consider adding a fresh coat of sealant to your deck to prevent precipitation damage and fluctuating temperatures. All outdoor pools, fountains and ponds will need their pumps unplugged, and it’s best to drain them and start fresh in the spring.

When in doubt about the winter-readiness of your home, call a National Property Inspections inspector near you. We can help you get your home ready for winter, stay safe and avoid costly repairs come spring. Call 1-800-333-9807 today to schedule an inspection.

Do you have a question about how to get your home ready for winter? Let us know in the comments below or share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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