Homeowners Checklist To Winter-Ready Homes

Now that winter is officially knocking, there’s no better time to prepare your house for the cold weather.

The benefit of a winter-ready home is more than not getting soaked up every day. Snowfall, ice dams, and other winter elements can do a lot of damages to your home. You need to plan. Fortunately, there are few things you can do to escape the severity of a harsh winter.

Below is a checklist to make your home comfortable and cozy during winter. These tips will also help you save money on your energy bill. Let’s get right in.

1. Inspect Chimney and Fireplace

Since you haven’t used your chimney in a while, there’s the possibility of build-up during the off-season. Having your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional is essential.

A thorough chimney inspection will keep you informed of any fireplace issue. A lot of home fires are caused by creosote buildup in the chimney. Whenever you burn wood, creosote forms inside your chimney. This build-up is highly flammable and can ignite a fire when allowed to build up enough. Plus, it is cancerous.

You can do some outdoor and indoor visual inspection on your own to know if your fireplace is ready for the burning season. Here are some outside inspection tips:

  1. Check your chimney cap to ensure there’s no nest or debris.
  2. Take care of tree limbs close by the chimney and ensure the mortar and brick on the chimney are intact.
  3. Ensure that the chimney is level and does not lean to one side. You should be able to see the flue liner above the chimney crown.
  4. Confirm that your roof flashing is tight against the wall of the chimney.

Inside your home;

  1. Make sure the flue dampers seal properly.
  2. Take away all combustible material anywhere near the fireplace.
  3. Take care of cracks or missing mortar in the hearth and firebox.

2. Insulate Your Window

Leaks in your window will not only deny you a cozy comfort during winter. It will also drive up your energy cost. Many things can be the reason for air leaks in a window. It may be due to a glazing putty that has grown brittle and fallen away. Or a worn-out aluminum window gasket. Weather strippings that are out of place can also be the reason.

Whatever happens to your window, you can make a quick fix that will get you through winter. You can try any of these;

  1. Use V-seal weather stripping along the window sashes to close the gap between sidings and window frames.
  2. Apply an exterior caulk that is impervious to elements. Caulk can close up air leaks around your down and window frames. Just spread to fill all cracks and crevices.

Once down, go inside your home to see there’s no sign of daylight in there. Congratulations! You’ve just completed weather-stripping your home.

3. Clean Your Gutter

Once you get the nasty leaves and needles off your roof, it’s time to clean your gutter. A lot of problems can arise when you allow your gutter to overflow. First, your gutter will be carrying additional weight,  which can pull them off your roof.

Second, the water can run down your home, causing exterior deterioration, water infiltration, and deterioration of your house foundation amidst other problems.

If you live in areas with an abundance of snow, cleaning your gutter might not be a one-off affair. You can use house cleaning services providers to take care of this. It won’t cost you more than $100 to clean up a messy gutter.

4. Inspect Your Roof

Preparing your home for winter will not be complete without a thorough roof inspection. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a roofing contractor to detect any crack, break, or missing shingles.

Let a professional handyman scan your roof with the right set of equipment. In case there is any break in the flashing seals around vent stacks. You can repair it quickly with a few bucks.

Melting snow and winter storms are especially hazardous for leaky roofs. Make sure your roof is in the best condition before winter.

If you have a flat roof that’s made of pebbles and asphalt, make it as free of dirt as possible. Fallen leaves and pine needles on a roof can hold moisture that damages asphalt. Make sure to rake or blow them off as you prepare for winter.

5. Inspect Your Home Heating System

The average lifetime of a heating system is 12-15 years. Is your heating system that old?  Make sure you verify how ready your HVAC system is before winter hits hard.

Get the system inspected by an HVAC professional to make sure it won’t let you down when you need it the most. An HVAC problem in the middle of frigid weather is the last thing you want to experience.

Also, let the technician clean your filter and tune up your furnace to ensure your system functions effectively in the cold season.

6. Trim Off Tree Branches

The last thing you want to see is a heavy tree limb to land on your roof when the weather is coldest. A Winter storm can make that happen, which can cause significant cracks and breakage to your roof. Check for branches of trees that overhang your roof and cut them down before winter.

Ice-coated tree branches are heavier and have a high possibility of breaking due to the weight. When they fall, they create holes and leaks that allow water to seep into your home.

Make sure every tree branch angling anywhere near your roof is at least 3 feet away. Winter is not the best time to do that. Start now.

If you can’t cut back limbs yourself. Contract a landscaping expert to inspect the trees and take care of any potential issue for you.


There’s no gainsaying that winter can be harsh on humans and homes, especially for those who fail to plan and prepare. Taking your time to carry out basic maintenance can make winter pleasing for you or your home. If you can take care of this checklist, you will be facing winter with lesser fear.