Easy Winter Preparation Checklist for Your Home (2023)

Home Improvement



Bob Formisano

Bob Formisano

Bob Formisano is a licensed architect and builder with nearly 40 years of experience building new homes and restoring older homes. One of his specialties is repairing old systems dating back to the 1920s, including galvanized water pipes, knob-and-tube wiring, and more. His home repair articles for The Spruce span more than 10 years.

Learn more about The Spruce'sEditorial Process

(Video) Easy Winter Preparation Checklist for Your Home

Updated on 11/24/21

(Video) Winter is Coming! Prepare Your Home with These 10 Fall Maintenance Tips

Reviewed by

Richard Epstein

Easy Winter Preparation Checklist for Your Home (1)

(Video) Fall Home Maintenance Checklist - Get Your House Ready For Winter

Reviewed byRichard Epstein

Richard Epstein is a licensed master plumber with over 40 years experience in residential and commercial plumbing. He specializes in estimating as well as design and engineering for plumbing systems, and he works for one of New York's largest union plumbing construction companies.

Learn more about The Spruce'sReview Board

Winterizing your home is no fun when it's already freezing cold out, so fall is the time to get winterized in preparation for the season. Proper winterization involves a systematic review of your home's HVAC equipment as well as the critical structural and mechanical systems. Take care of these elements before winter, so you can enjoy the snow in cozy comfort.

(Video) Get Your House Winter Ready!

Here are key areas of your home that you should focus on when winterizing.

Winterize the Heating System

The heating system is perhaps the most critical element for a home in the winter. The following tasks will help you prepare it.

  • Test run:No later than October, give your heating system a test run. Turn the thermostat to heat mode, and set it to 80°F. You should hear the furnace turn on, and warm air should begin to blow within a few minutes. If the furnace is running fine, turn the thermostat back to its normal setting. If the furnaceis not running properly, you can try to diagnose it yourself.Depending on what's wrong, you might be able to fix it yourself, or you might need to call a qualified service technician.
  • Replace the air filter:Put in a new, clean air filter. It's easy,and doing so will ensure a free flow of air and a cleaner environment. Each furnace has its own requirements for air filters, so follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Check the fuel supply:If you have a propane or fuel oil furnace, make sure your fuel storage tank is topped off and ready to go.
  • Inspect and clean heating vents:Clear obstacles to heating vents, so air can freely flow. Many experts recommend having a service technician come in and clean the vents every year or two.
  • Check for carbon monoxide leaks:This silent killer can easily be detected with either an inexpensive test badge or a battery-operated alarm. If you discover problems, call in a professional to identify and correct the cause of the leak. Usually, this involves leakage in the exhaust system of a furnace or other fuel-burning appliance, such as a water heater. Don't put this work off; a carbon monoxide leak is a very dangerous situation.
  • Check exhaust vents: Some furnaces and boilers, as well as gas water heaters, vent through a chimney, while newer high-efficiency models might vent through plastic pipes running through a side wall. Make sure these vents are open and free of obstructions, which can block the vent pipes and interfere with the furnace's ability to burn efficiently and properly vent exhaust gases.

Winterize the Air Conditioning System

Often neglected is one of the most important components of a cooling system: the condensing unit outside that churns away in the heat of summer. This component needs a little attention as winter approaches.

  • Clean the condensing unit of debris:Using a hose with the spray head set to the highest pressure, clean the fan blades and condensing coils of debris and dirt. Let the unit dry completely before covering it for the season.
  • Cover thecondensing unit:Left unprotected, the condensing unit can be damaged by wet leaves and debris that contribute to rusting and freezing of internal components. Although these units are designed for outdoor use, covering them with a breathable waterproof cover made for that purpose goes a long way to extending the life and efficient performance of the unit.
  • Winterize window air conditioners:As for window air conditioners, remove them if possibleand store them for winter. Left in windows, these appliances are very hard to seal effectively against cold drafts. If they can't be removed, then close the vents and make sure to get an air conditioning cover similar to a condensing unit cover.

Inspect the Fireplace, Chimney, and Flue

Although largely ignored in warm weather, a wood-burning fireplace and chimney can be a major source of cold air leaks and other issues in winter. The chimney and fireplace need some inspection and service before winter sets in.

  • Clear obstructions: Check to make sure the chimney is clear of any nests from birds, squirrels, or other small animals.
  • Check the damper: Make sure it opens and closes fully and that it can be locked in the open or closed position.
  • Check the chimney draft: Make sure the chimney will draw up the fire and smoke properly. Test this by taking several sheets of newspaper and rolling them up. Then, with the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. The smoke should rise up the chimney. If it doesn't, you have an obstruction and need to call a professional to clean the chimney.
  • Have the chimney cleaned:If it has been several years since you had your fireplace chimney cleaned, have it done by a professional chimney sweep.
  • Inspect the firebrick in the fireplace: If you see any open mortar joints, have them repaired immediately.A fire can spread into the stud wall behind the masonry firebrick through open mortar joints.

Winterize Water Pipes

Water supply pipes are especially susceptible to freezing in cold weather, and burst pipes from freezing can cause some of the most expensive repairs in the home. Exposed drain pipes can also occasionally freeze, oo it is important to systematically review the plumbing pipes in your home.

  • Insulate exposed piping:If you have any exposed water pipesin uninsulated spaces—such as in a crawlspace, an attic, exteriorwalls, etc.—make sure to insulate them at a minimum with foam insulating sleeves. Ideally, you should wrap them with electrical heating tape first and then insulate them.
  • Exterior faucets:Known as hose bibbs or sillcocks, the exterior faucets need to have their water supply turned off inside the house, and you also need to drain water from them by opening up the exterior faucets. Also consider an insulated cover for the hose bibb.And remember to disconnect your garden hoses and drain them.
  • Seasonal shutdown:If you are shutting down a property for several months to leave for the winter, you should always shut off the water supply anddrain the plumbing system. If a leak were to occur when you are not present, the damage could be catastrophic.

Review Insulation

Major insulation upgrades aren't something to do hurriedly right before winter. A home that is in serious need of more insulation should be carefully evaluated to ensure a quality job. But there are some areas you can easily insulate to help prepare for winter.

  • Insulate the hot water heater:Use an insulating blanket you can buy at the hardware store.
  • Insulate exterior outlets and switch plates: Use inexpensive foam sealing gaskets.
  • Seal unused fireplaces: If you don't use your fireplace and it leaks air, you can cut a piece of fiberglass insulation and stuff it into the fireplace behind your fireplace screen to block the cold air coming down the chimney. Of course, you'll need to remove this whenever you use the fireplace.

Seal Doors and Windows

Infiltration of cold air from air leaks around doors and windows is a significant contributor to your heating bill. An easy way to reduce your bill is to minimize these drafts with simple weatherstripping.


  • Inspect the outside moldings: Look around windows for damaged or missing caulking. Use a good quality exterior caulk to seal any gaps you find.
  • Check old windows: Windows with traditional glazing putty holding the glass panes in the frames might have seen the putty crack and fall out. Reglaze any windows that have missing glazing putty.
  • Inspect window tracks: Clean the tracks of any debris that might be interfering with seals.
  • Inspect the locking mechanisms: Make sure they work adequately. You will want to lock them securely once winter sets in.
  • Check for air leaks: On a day when it's windy outside, close your windows and feel for air leaks. Typically, leaks will be found at the edges where the window is hinged, slides, or meets another unit. You can tape plastic over windows to seal them, but this can be expensive and rather unattractive. A better and easier solution is to use inexpensive rope caulk to seal leaks. Press the rope to caulk into all the joints where the air is leaking.


  • Inspectcaulking: Look around the outside moldings of door frames, and add new exterior-grade caulking if necessary.
  • Inspect and replace any failed weatherstripping: Check the weatherstripping around doors, including the door sweep attached to the bottom of the door.
  • Check for air leaks: Feel around doors for air coming in, and use rope caulk where applicable to seal gaps.

Inspect the Roof

Do a quick check of the roof to prepare for winter. Either hire someone to inspect it if you are not comfortabledoing this yourself, or inspect it yourself wearing well-fastened shoes with nonskid soles.

  • Inspect the shingles: Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles, and have them replaced.
  • Inspect the flashing: Check flashing around chimneys and other roof projections, which are often the source of leaks. Have repairs made if necessary.
  • Inspect the gutters: Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean with no leavesor debris clogging them. Wet leaves remaining in the gutters over winter add significant weight and volume when frozen, increasing the risk of damage. Also, make sure downspouts are solidly attached.

Winterize the Sprinkler System

The sprinkler system should not be overlooked when preparing your home for winter. If you have a lawn service that handles this, have it come to drain and winterize thesystem no later than October. Winterizing a sprinkler system is also fairly easy to do yourself. It involves shutting off the water, draining the pipes, blowing them free of water, and then opening test cocks on the vacuum breaker to allow air into the system. This prevents trapped water from freezing and cracking the plastic water lines.

(Video) Winter Checklist: How to Prepare Your House for Winter | American Home Shield

Winterize the Pool and Spa

How you winterize a pool and spa will depend on which type you have; an above-ground pool can require much different procedures than an in-ground pool. Have a pool maintenance person perform all necessary winterization procedures. If you do this work yourself, make sure to carefully follow the pool or spa manufacturer's recommendations for winterizing it.

Prepare the Landscape and Store Outdoor Items

You'll want to prepare your yard for winter, too. Follow standard lawn and garden winterizing procedures, which entail care for the grass, flower beds, and other plantings. You'll also have to deal with outdoor furniture and other items.

  • Cover patio furniture: Protect furniture, or bring it indoors to store for the winter.
  • Seal or stain a wooden deck: This might not be necessary every year, but a properly sealed deck will be more resistant to winter damage.
  • Clean and seal concrete: Prior to winter is a good time to patch any cracks or damage to concrete steps or walkways.
  • Drain the lawn mower gas: Drain a gas mower and other gas-powered lawn tools, and store them somewhere dry and safe for the winter.
  • Drain water features: Unplug the pumps to water features, such as fountains.
  • Clean and store garden tools: Make sure tools are free of dirt and stored in a dry place.
  • Clean and store the grill: Thoroughly clean the grill and other barbecue equipment, and either cover it or bring it indoors for winter.


How do I prepare for winter 2022? ›

We've asked experts to share some actions to take right now to prepare for the coming months.
  1. Get on top of any debts. ...
  2. Review your expenses and budget. ...
  3. Compare bills. ...
  4. Check your tax breaks. ...
  5. Insulate your home. ...
  6. Take advantage of loyalty schemes. ...
  7. Change to more energy efficient lightbulbs. ...
  8. Cancel those subscriptions.
25 Aug 2022

How do I prepare my house for winter UK? ›

Get ready for lower temperatures. Now's the best time to winter-proof your home
  1. Invest in your insulation. ...
  2. Declutter your gutters. ...
  3. Keep your pressure in check. ...
  4. Give your radiators some attention. ...
  5. Service your boiler. ...
  6. Lag your pipes. ...
  7. Draught-proof doors and windows. ...
  8. Service your roof.

How do I prepare for a winter budget? ›

Nine budget friendly ways to prepare your home BEFORE the winter season
  1. Assess your home's exposure and know what to do.
  2. Prevent plumbing from freezing.
  3. Winterize your landscaping and irrigation. ...
  4. Tune-up your home's heating system. ...
  5. Prevent ice dams and leaks. ...
  6. Clean your chimney. ...
  7. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

How can you keep your house warm? ›

So here are 10 simple tips for keeping your home warm for little or no extra cost – just in time for that severe weather warning.
  1. Use your curtains. ...
  2. Use timers on your central heating. ...
  3. Move your sofa. ...
  4. Maximise your insulation. ...
  5. Wrap up warm. ...
  6. Turn down the dial. ...
  7. Block out the draughts. ...
  8. Install thermostatic radiator valves.
9 Nov 2016

How can I keep warm in the winter without heating? ›

How to Stay Warm at Home Without a Heater
  1. Close all of your windows properly. ...
  2. Use cheap clear shower curtains over the windows that receive sun light. ...
  3. Put up curtains. ...
  4. Seal your doors. ...
  5. Let as much sun hit your house as possible. ...
  6. Close off any unused rooms. ...
  7. Put down a rug or carpet.

How can I save on heating costs this winter? ›

Top tips to save money on heating and energy bills
  1. Layer clothing when inside and have a hot drink: ...
  2. Stop draughts: ...
  3. Upgrade your thermostat: ...
  4. Turn down your thermostat: ...
  5. Time your heating: ...
  6. Insulate your hot water cylinder: ...
  7. Choose which rooms to heat: ...
  8. Unplug energy vampires:

How do you keep a poorly insulated house warm? ›

14 low-tech ways to keep your house warm over the winter
  1. Use tin foil. ...
  2. Thick curtains are one of the main ways to protect your house from losing heat through the windows. ...
  3. But let the sunlight in during the day. ...
  4. Double glazing is heat-efficient but it's relatively costly. ...
  5. Stop heat being lost up the chimney.
31 Oct 2013

How cold before you put heating on UK? ›

On average, UK householders first turn on their post-summer heating when the outside temperature drops to 13.5°C, but there's a difference between Southerners, Northerners, and Scots. The average outdoor temperature needed to get Southern English people to first turn on their thermostat after the summer is 13.5°C.

How can I stay warm without heating UK? ›

How to Keep Warm Without Heating: Stay Snug and Save Money
  1. Use microwaveable warmers. ...
  2. Cover up with blankets. ...
  3. Keep your feet warm. ...
  4. Make your home cosy. ...
  5. Wear a neck warmer. ...
  6. Humidify the air with an oil diffuser. ...
  7. Grab some rays. ...
  8. Close the curtains promptly.

How cold is too cold for a house? ›

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends indoor temperatures of at least 64°F (you can drop that down to 62°F at night if you're really looking to save on your heating bill). But if you have infants, sick or elderly people in your household, then it's recommended that you keep the thermostat set at 70°F.

What is the cheapest way to heat a house? ›

Gas boiler

It's not as cost-effective without solar panels, but a gas boiler is still the cheapest way to heat your home – though that's set to change soon, with the cost of gas rising more than twice as quickly as electricity.

How can I insulate my house cheaply? ›

Cheap ways to keep your house warm
  1. Draught-proof your home. ...
  2. Insulate your pipework. ...
  3. Invest in a smart thermostat. ...
  4. Change your curtains or blinds. ...
  5. Fit carpets with underlay. ...
  6. Move your furniture around. ...
  7. Increase your roof and loft insulation. ...
  8. Install better floor insulation.

What are some winter quotes? ›

"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." "The color of springtime is flowers; the color of winter is in our imagination." "Blow, blow, thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude." "There is no winter without snow, no spring without sunshine, and no happiness without companions."

What should you have in your house during a snowstorm? ›

What to Have at Home if You're Expecting a Snowstorm
  • Portable Charger. The last thing you want during a snowstorm (or any emergency) is a dead phone. ...
  • Flashlight. ...
  • Canned Food. ...
  • Emergency Preparedness Kit. ...
  • Blanket. ...
  • Toilet Paper. ...
  • First Aid Kit. ...
  • Gas Indoor Heater.
28 Jan 2022

What should you not do during a winter storm? ›

Avoid walking on ice or getting wet. Carefully watch for signs of cold-weather health problems, like hypothermia and frostbite.

What supplies do you need for a blizzard? ›

Pack work boots, gloves, a hand warmer, blankets and thick clothes. Fill a small plastic bin with a flashlight, batteries and a first aid kit. Store a 3-day supply of water and ready-to-eat, non-perishable food for each person. Include tools, anti-freeze and dice melt products.

What is the first day of fall for 2022? ›

When does fall officially begin? Astronomical fall began at 9:04 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 22, 2022, in the Northern Hemisphere, according to AccuWeather. This time also marks the beginning of spring the Southern Hemisphere.

How do you mentally prepare for autumn? ›

Think of it as doing something good for your mental health. Listen to music, read a book, work on your hobbies, meditate—do what it takes to decompress ahead of holiday go-time!

What if winter lasts forever? ›

If winter went on and on, frogs and turtles would deplete their energy reserves and, being unable to feed, die of starvation. Or, metabolic waste products that accumulate in the body during the winter would build up, reaching toxic levels.

What is the beauty of winter? ›

Foggy mornings, fluffy blankets, cold air and hot chocolate—there are so many things that are special about winter. Isn't it? Winter is the most beautiful time of the year. The shorter days and longer nights, cold air and low humidity, and the quiet weather are all the things people enjoy during winter.

What is a good sentence for winter? ›

Examples of winter in a Sentence

Noun They spend winters in Florida. We're in for a cold winter this year, I hear. She traveled there two winters ago. the last day of winter Verb The birds will winter in the southern part of the country.


1. Your checklist for preparing your home for winter, by Steve Westmark
(Steve Westmark)
2. TOP 9 TIPS - Fall & Winter Home Preparation Checklist (house maintenance)
(She Sells Boise)
3. A Winter Home Prep Checklist
(Living in Minneapolis, MN)
4. 10 Easy Ways to Winterize a House and Yard Before the Cold | Winter Preparation Checklist. #home
5. Top 15 Home Winterizing Tips to Save You Money
(Mr. Build It)
6. Checklist: How to get your home ready for winter
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated: 03/05/2023

Views: 6076

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.