Top 5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Winter Preparation for Your Home

Preparing your home for winter requires a comprehensive approach to getting ready for the possible inclement weather. Winter weather can stress all systems in a home; from roofing and gutters, to window and door seals, to heating systems. All systems need to be ready to go and be properly maintained.

This article will describe five tutorial tips for prepping your home for winter. It will look at readying the guttering and downspout system on your house, tips on how to prevent and remove damaging...MORE ice dams on your home's gutters, how to drain your home's plumbing system (in case of extended away or seasonal shut down), and also provides an overall winterizing checklist you can use to get ready for winter.

The best time to go through these tutorial tips is in the Fall, say September or October. That allows you to have time to make the check in nice weather and still have time to make any necessary repairs.

It''s great feeling to know you have done what you can to be ready for cold weather and can just sit back and enjoy the beauty of the winter season. So follow these tutorial tips and get ready!

  • 01 of 05
    home in winter
    Get your home ready for winter by reviewing a winterizing checklist in the fall. Fotolia

    Do you want to prevent frozen water lines, frozen sprinkler lines, fireplace back draft and other nasty winter surprises? Then this checklist is what you need.

    This tutorial will review a number of home systems and maintenance issues in order to get you ready for winter, including:

    • Heating System
      (Let's make sure you have heat when you need it. These tips are for checking the heating system in Fall and include review of carbon monoxide risk, air filter maintenance, proper furnace ignition,...MORE venting and other issues).
    • Air Conditioning
      (cleaning condensing unit and covering it for protection)
    • Wood Burning Fireplace
      (Checking for obstructions, proper draft and missing fire brick mortar)
    • Pipe Freezing Protection
      (Plumbing is vulnerable during cold snaps and burst pipes from freezing cause expensive repairs in the home. Learn how to prevent them).
    • Insulation
      (Tips on how to use insulation to conserve energy).
    • Doors and Windows
      (Infiltration of cold air from air leaks around doors and windows is a significant contributor to your heating bill).
    • Roof Maintenance Check
      (Check for roof shingle and flashing maintenance and guttering problems)
    • Sprinklers
      (Remember to blow out the water in your sprinkler system).
    • Landscaping
      (Get your yard and yard equipment ready for winter).
  • 02 of 05
    man cleaning gutter
    Make sure to keep your gutter clean of leaves and debris. Images/Getty Images

    Making sure your gutters and downspouts are clear is an essential part of regular home maintenance. Clear gutters ensure proper flow of water from the roof and prevent a host of related problems such as wood rot and water in the basement.

    In the winter, making sure your gutters are clear has additional importance. If the gutters are filled with leaves and this debris gets wet and then freezes, your gutters will be carrying much more weight than they were designed to withstand. Add to this the...MORE risk of ice dams and the damage potential to your home is significant.

    This tutorial will explain how to clean your gutters when damp or dry and describe how to clear the downspouts.

  • 03 of 05
    furnace maintenence technician
    Your furnace needs to be checked and maintained at least once per year. Fotolia

    OK, the one appliance you will want to make sure is in proper operating mode is your gas furnace. Proper operation is essential the furnace needs to be reliable. The time to find out it has a problem is not during the winter.

    This tutorial will go over the major points to check before winter sets in including:

    • Cleaning the interior of the furnace
      (How to make sure the interior is free of nasty dust and dirt)
    • Air filter replacement
      (You should change the filter as needed or no less than every 6...MORE months)
    • Fan belt maintenance
      (Proper belt tension is essential on older furnaces to ensure quiet and efficient operation).
    • Motor oil bearing maintenance
      (Easy to forget, but some motors are no permanently sealed and require periodic lubrication. It's not hard but knowing where to look is the trick).
  • 04 of 05
    Water Running From Faucet
    Learn how to keep your faucet from running when you are away for extended periods. Terraxplorer / Getty Images

    You may need to shut the water off in your home and rain it completely due to seasonal winter shut down of a property or if a pipe burst and needs repair. Another reason may be to eliminate water hammer.

    This tutorial will describe the process you should follow to allow water to run easily from the top floor of your home to the bottom. You will need to manipulate your faucets in sinks, tubs and showers, along with toilets and any other appliance or fixture connected to a plumbing line.

    If the...MORE draining sequence is improperly done you will still end up with water in the line so make sure to read this tutorial for the quick and easy way to drain your home's water line.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Roof ice dam
    Learn how to prevent damaging roof ice dams. Sawayasu Tsuji / Getty Images

    Ice dams and their resulting icicles may look pretty in winter but they are damaging to the home. If left untreated ice dams will cause serious damage to your gutters, roof, drywall, paint, insulation, wood structure and can even contribute to mold.

    Ice dams form when melting snow on a roof melts and then refreezes at the edge of a roof. This can be caused by a warm roof deck which in turn is caused by poor attic ventilation from the eaves through the roof and attic space. The attic space can...MORE also get warm by heat from the occupied floor below the attic. These heat sources can be include recessed down lights, air leaks, ductwork, and other items.

    This tutorial will describe:

    • What causes ice dams
    • How to prevent ice dams
    • How to determine proper roof ventilation area (square feet of ventilation open area)
    • How to do battle before winter to prevent ice dams
    • Battling ice dams during winter by yourself

    • How to professionally remove severe ice dams with steam