Depending on where you are in the world, Jack Frost may have already visited your home. That’s the case for our vice president, Kip Kuroski. When he wakes up in his South Dakota home and looks outside, his entire yard is blanketed in snow.
Luckily, he prepared his home ahead of time, so he could enjoy the cold outside while staying comfortable inside. A little bit goes a long way: You should check your house to make sure it can survive the season. If winter is still on the horizon for you, use this checklist to prepare your home for winter.
We put together five ways for you to be prepared. There are certain spots you can’t afford to overlook. Scroll down for a few easy ways to make your home winter-ready.
1. Check your door and window seals for drafts
To winterize your windows, you need to check the frames for gaps. If your lighting isn’t too good, you can guide a candle around the windows and doors. If the flame flickers, that’s a sign of a draft coming in.
If you want to save money on your heating bill this winter, seal all air leaks you find. If you don’t, up to 30% of your energy use may seep through unsealed doors and windows, the U.S. Department of Energy says.
You could even upgrade your windows with more energy-efficient materials. Old windows with single-pane glass might not be good enough to keep the cold out. We recommend draft guards and weather stripping.
Don’t forget your door locks, which can freeze in winter. Head to a hardware store and pick up some powdered-graphite lubricant. Then, spray it into your door locks and turn a key in the lock to ensure it works.
2. Test your smoke detectors
Summer may be famous for forest fires, but most home fires occur in the winter. The National Fire Protection Association says heating equipment is involved in one out of every six reported home fires. So if you’re planning to use a heater or any other devices to stay warm, ready carefully.
Check all of your smoke detectors now to make sure they’ll work well later on. If your windows are shut tight and there’s a technical error in any devices, carbon monoxide could be a threat. You want to make sure your smoke detectors have good batteries and are up to snuff if anything happens.
3. Check the gutters
You might think gutters aren’t a big deal since they’re away from your main home. That’s not true. If your gutters are clogged with leaves and other schmutz, the debris can balloon into a huge mass of snow and ice.
That could spread to your roof, causing damage or even leakage. We know it’s not fun, but you should get a tall ladder, strap on your work gloves and scoop out the messy debris while you still can. You want the water to drain, so it doesn’t freeze and grow into a threat. You can also call a handyman, of course.
4. Don’t forget your roof!
Speaking of gutters, while you’re up there, look over your roof to make sure it’s prepared. You don’t want to find out you have leaks after the winter storms start raging.
To make sure snow doesn’t slip into your home, watch out for these giveaways of a damaged roof:
- Damaged or missing shingles
- Moss and lichen growth
- Cracked caulk
- Rust spots
Hire any handymen or roofers you need to repair shingles. If you have a flat roof, rake or blow off leaves, which can hold moisture.
5. Lastly, check the chimney
Don’t burn any logs without checking your chimney first. Make sure it’s clean and in good repair, so you don’t start any chimney fires. You should also look over any heating appliance that burns gas, wood, coal or oil.
You can do the job yourself with guidance from the Chimney Safety Institute of America. They have all the details on what you need to look out for. You can also hire a professional who inspects your chimney for structural issues like cracks, which could let moisture and cold drafts sneak into your home.
Bonus tip: Now your home is safe from Jack Frost. But what about burglars?
If you’re planning to leave your home for a winter vacation, you need a strong alarm system. We recommend SimpliSafe, our sponsor. It has all sorts of high-tech gadgets to keep you safe, not to mention its excellent customer service.
SimpliSafe is an award-winning home security system, so you know it’s engineered with the latest technology you want to keep your family safe. But what really sets SimpliSafe apart is its people: Highly trained security experts who are always there for you when you need them most.
SimpliSafe is there 24/7, with experts trained to not only keep you safe but to make you feel safe. It’s one of the many reasons U.S. News recently called SimpliSafe “the best home security of 2021.”