Climate Home Preparation: How to Winterize Your House

The winter months can be brutal and cause significant damage to your house if you're not prepared. Prepare your home this winter with a few winterizing tips!

Published on
November 29, 2023
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Climate Home Preparation: How to Winterize Your House


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With the winter months quickly approaching, it’s important to make sure you begin winterizing your home as soon as possible. Winterizing your home refers to the process of preparing your home to endure the winter weather (Petro Home Services, n.d.). Winterizing your house, especially if it may be vacant for any period of time, will ensure your home doesn’t suffer any preventable damage from winter storms or freezing temperatures, and even save on heating costs. 

Preparing your home for the winter months should begin during the fall if you plan on completing these tasks alone. A good rule of thumb is to start with the outdoor projects first, that way you won’t spend as much time outside as the weather conditions get colder and potentially dangerous. Then, you can move on to your indoor projects (Holden, 2022). If you plan on hiring someone to winterize your home, you may want to consider scheduling as early as the summer months to ensure you get an appointment before the first snowfall (Allen and Zito, 2022).

Preparing your home for the winter months

  1. Clean the gutters

Gutters direct the rainwater and snow away from your house to prevent water from leaking in and causing damage. If your gutters are clogged with leaves and debris from the fall season, they are prevented from performing their intended functions. Try to get them cleaned out after all the leaves have fallen off the trees but before the first snowfall, that way you won’t have to repeat efforts for the season (Allen and Zito, 2022).

  1. Have your roof and attic spaces inspected

A home’s roof endures the most impact from the elements, so you’ll want to make sure no repairs are needed before the winter months set in. You’ll want to ensure no rain or snow will leak inside the home and cause damage, and check that there are no drafts (Allen and Zito, 2022).

  1. Prepare your patio and deck

If you live in an area that receives snow or heavy rains during the winter, you’ll want to cover your patio furniture with weatherproof covers or bring them into a garage or shed space if possible (Allen and Zito, 2022). To protect your outdoor appliances and prevent wildlife from nesting inside them, consider storing in an indoor location as well (The Zebra, 2022).

  1. Check your snow removal tools

Snow removal tools are not useful when they are no longer in working condition or you can’t access them due to the weather. Check your tools early on in the season and place them in an area that will be accessible for use when it has snowed to prevent any unfortunate situations (Allen and Zito, 2022).

  1. Insulate your pipes

Freezing or bursting pipes can become a nightmare in the wintertime. Prevent this kind of damage to your house by covering any pipes exposed to the outdoors with pipe sleeves or even newspaper as a short-term solution. Another tip is to allow water to drip when it's freezing to prevent damage (The Zebra, 2022). In case of an emergency, you’ll want to know the location of your main water valve if you need to turn it off. You’ll also need to drain your sprinkler systems and garden hoses, disconnect them from the faucets and store them indoors, and cover the faucets (Allen and Zito, 2022).

  1. Prepare your plants for winter

Small plants should be brought indoors if the temperatures drop below 45 degrees in your area. For larger plants, you can add mulch around them to help regulate temperatures and prevent freezing. You can also cover them with blankets or towels overnight for protection against a light freeze, just make sure you remove them in the morning so condensation doesn’t build up. To protect trees from freezing temperatures, you can wrap their trunks with protective paper (The Zebra, 2022). 

  1. Protect your home against rodents

In the U.S. rodents can be a huge pest, with more than 14.8 million households experiencing issues with rodents in their home. To prevent rodents and insects from entering your home, you’ll want to eliminate any point of entry by sealing holes and weatherstripping around windows and doors (Thorsby, 2022). This will also prevent your home from losing heat and seal up any air drafts which will save on heating costs (Allen and Zito, 2022). Keeping any items elevated and away from the exterior walls of your home including firewood will help prevent rodents from nesting around your home in the first place (Thorsby, 2022).

  1. Prevent ice dams from forming

Ice collecting on your roof can be damaging to your roofing as well as dangerous for the exterior of your home. Prevent ice from collecting and falling by installing heat cables on the roof (Holden, 2022).

  1. Check the chimney

Dirty chimneys can become a fire hazard, so you’ll want to have a chimney sweep before winter begins if you have a fireplace. If you don’t plan on using your fireplace, you can plug up the space with a chimney balloon to block out the cold air and prevent heat from seeping out (Allen and Zito, 2022).

  1. Stock up on sand and salt

Salt and sand can come in handy for melting snow and gaining traction on sidewalks, patios, driveways, and roads. Having a stock ready at your disposal will help prevent falling, making it safer to be outside your house when you need to (Holden, 2022).

  1. Have your HVAC system serviced

Getting your HVAC system serviced will ensure your heating system is in working condition so it's ready for when you need it in the winter months. These appointments may be difficult to make during the fall and winter, so it may be worth scheduling in the summer to ensure you get a spot (Allen and Zito, 2022).

  1.  Reverse your ceiling fans

Since hot air rises in a room, you can reduce heating costs by setting your fans to rotate clockwise to spread warm air back to the lower levels of the room (The Zebra, 2022). Just make sure you switch them back before it starts warming up again!

  1. Let in sunlight from south-facing windows

Use natural daylight to your advantage and open south-facing window curtains. This will help heat your home during the winter, lowering your heating costs. Close the curtains or blinds at night to provide a barrier for any draft you may have (The Zebra, 2022).

  1. Install monitoring devices in your home

Monitoring devices such as water-leak sensors and automatic water shutoffs can minimize damage by alerting you to any problems and shutting these systems off for you. These systems are especially useful for anyone leaving their home for an extended period of time (Thorsby, 2022).

  1. Stock up on winter and power outage supplies

Winter weather can sometimes be unpredictable. If you live in an area that regularly experiences winter storms and blizzard conditions, it's important to ensure you are prepared with supplies in case you are trapped inside for a few days or lose power. This includes a stock of water, food, medications, battery-operated flashlights, and batteries. Stocking up on warm blankets and winter clothing layers can also be life-saving if you end up in an unfortunate situation in your home.

Prepare your home for any climate events that may occur by visiting our blog to learn more about fire safety, how to prepare for hurricanes and flooding, power outages, and more.


11 Steps to Winterize a House

How To Winterize A House

How to Winterize Your Home in a Weekend

How to winterize your house and save energy (+Checklist)

Winterizing your home: how to avoid frozen pipes and more.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk: