It’s easy to forget, or ignore, the importance of preparing your house for winter. Staying cozy inside your home sounds a lot better than bundling up to brave the cold or checking off a to-do list. However, maintaining your home during the winter will help you avoid expensive repairs or surprises.
Preparing your house for the winter will also improve the efficiency of your home, saving you money and keeping your home warm and comfortable. Use our Winter Home Maintenance Checklist to keep your property in great shape as the mercury plummets.
Leaving town for the winter or closing a seasonal vacation home? Use our Winterization Checklist to help secure a home that will be unoccupied in the winter.
How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter
Every home, climate and property are different. Use this checklist as a general guide to winter home maintenance and add items that are unique to your property such as draining the swimming pool, cutting firewood or stocking up on pellet stove fuel.
For new homeowners, we suggest using each season to help you prepare for next year. Did snow accumulate on certain areas of your house? Use snow fences! Was one room always colder than another? Check for air leaks!
These winter maintenance tasks are broken down by frequency. Some of these tasks should be checked off at the end of fall. Other tasks are ongoing and need frequent attention.
Annual Winter Maintenance Tasks
Check off these tasks at the beginning of the season:
Exterior Maintenance Tasks
- Replace your window screens with storm windows if you have them. If you do not have storm windows, it’s still a good idea to remove the screens.
- Get your chimney cleaned if you rely on a fireplace or a woodstove for heat.
- Plowing your own driveway? Make sure your snow blower or plow truck is ready to go. Otherwise, hire plow services and don’t forget to mark your driveway!
- Clean your gutters and downspouts to facilitate water runoff in the spring.
- Store patio furniture in the garage or garden shed.
- Drain your garden hoses and store them in the garage or a covered area.
- Identify tree hazards that could pose a risk to your home or safety from a heavy snow load or strong wind.
- Place a screen over intake vents to prevent rodents from discovering a warm place to call home.
- Clean debris from flat roofs or roof valleys where leaves can collect and hold moisture.
Interior Maintenance Tasks
- Reverse the direction of ceiling fans to force warm air down into the room.
- Install or increase attic insulation or have a professional inspection if you’re concerned about heat loss through the roof.
- Have your furnace or heating system professionally inspected.
- Turn off water valves that supply water to hose spigots if you have them.
- Remove and store any window mounted AC units.
- Prevent drafts by inspecting windows and doors for cracks or leaks. Replace weather stripping if needed.
- Inspect pipes that run on exterior walls for proper insulation or any vulnerabilities to freezing.
- Check batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Pour a few gallons of water in your sump pit to make sure the sump pump works correct.
- If your HVAC system has a humidifier, get it inspected and calibrated. Make sure the drain line is clear.
On-Going Winter Maintenance Tasks
These tasks require frequent inspection. How often will depend on the severity of the weather, wind and precipitation. Use your best judgement. If you can’t decide, we recommend reviewing this checklist at least once a week:
- Continue to monitor the roof for any ice dams or damage. Icicles hanging from your roof line is an indication of a poorly insulated attic and a potential ice damn threat.
- Keep large snowdrifts from piling up against your home.
- Keep driveways and walkways clear of snow between storms.
- For heavy snow years, make sure your roof can sustain the weight. Otherwise, get a roof rake to remove large snow loads.
- Use sand or gravel on walkways for traction. Salt/ice-melt is also effective but has a narrow operating temperature range and isn’t very environmentally friendly.
- Maintain your snow removal equipment.
- Monitor windows and doors for drafts.
- During deep cold spells (less than 15 degrees for more than 24 hours) keep all interior doors open to encourage heat circulation.
- Replace your HVAC air filter every three months.
Winter Home Maintenance Tips
Since keeping our homes warm and cozy in the winter is a priority, why not make it easier and less expensive? A programable thermostat is a simple way to save on heating costs if set up properly. Use the programs to automatically turn the heat down when you’re not at home or sleeping. You can even control smart thermostats from your phone or use an app to monitor energy usage.
Winter Home Maintenance Professionals
Maintaining a home in the winter with a busy schedule is a big task. If you need help or you need a home repair, just give Mr. Handyman a call. We can help seal drafty windows or make any necessary repairs to help you keep your home in great shape. Give us a call or request an appointment online.