18 Ways to Prepare Your Home (and Family) for Winter

Winter is on its way and it looks like it might be a doozy, according to predictions at AccuWeather. Are you ready? And by that I don’t mean are your skis sharpened. I mean is your household ready for whatever kind of weather winter might bring?

If you haven’t yet winterized your home, now is the time to do so. Although your winterizing to-do list will depend on where you live and the kinds of weather you can expect, in general most people need to do the following:

  1. Change furnace filters—Having lived in a rental once that had filthy filters (I found out later after suffering chronic illness while living there), I can attest to this task as beneficial not just for heat and efficiency reasons, but health reasons too!
  2. Get your furnace a checkup—Have a professional come out and make sure all is working as it should be now before you really need the heat.
  3. Have the chimney sweep out—Heating with wood means a wonderful warm heat, but it also means careful maintenance of your chimney and wood stove!
  4. Block drafts—Blocking drafts can be as simple as rolling up a towel and putting it in front of a door.
  5. Apply weatherstripping where needed—For something more permanent than a rolled up towel, apply weatherstripping where you know you have drafts.
  6. Install storm doors or windows or install the plastic window insulation kit—If you have storm doors or windows, now is the time to put them up. If not, you can get the plastic window insulation kits at your local hardware store and use those instead.
  7. Reverse your ceiling fans—I don’t have ceiling fans in my house, but I have seen this tip all over the Internet. Apparently this pushes the warm air that rises up to the ceiling back down to where the people are. Who knew?
  8. Clean the gutters—Clean the gutters now before the rains come and water is pouring over the edges of them! This also gives you a chance to check for any loose gutters.
  9. Check for loose roofing—If anything looks like it might come off in a strong wind, it will.
  10. Double check caulking and flashing—Caulking does not last like I think it should! Double-check caulking around doors and windows, and also flashing around chimneys, skylights and wherever else you have it installed.
  11. Check your trees and limbs—Have a professional out if you need to, because you can’t always see when a tree has dead parts that are a danger (and I’m speaking from experience here). You want to make sure your trees and branches are going to stay vertical during a storm, and not end up on your roof or across your driveway.
  12. Wrap water pipes and outside faucets—I would add to this list to pick up and put away any hoses that might freeze.
  13. Check lighting outside—This is more of a safety issue, but make sure your outside lighting is good to decrease the chances of someone tripping and falling.
  14. Keep sidewalks clear of slippery leaves—Ditto.
  15. Have salt or sand handy—In case of ice and snow. You don’t want to be slipping and sliding to go to the hardware store for this stuff after the fact!
  16. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning—Replace batteries and make sure they are working correctly.
  17. Be prepared for emergencies—You can find plenty of emergency preparedness advice
  18. Make full use of your home automation system—Your home security or home automation system can monitor your lights and your thermostat to help winterize your home yet keep your utility bills down.

Although we are in the home security business, we are constantly thinking about safety too, and winterizing your home as well as always being aware of potential threats to your home and family is part of keeping you and yours safe and sound.

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