Winter weather is unpredictable. Even if last season was fairly mild with nothing more than a few snow flurries, this year’s patterns could produce a record-breaking blizzard. Since you never know what types of winter weather conditions you and your family can expect, it’s important to be prepared.
Complete the winter safety tips below to be sure your home is ready. Finish each item as early as possible in case poor conditions arrive early. Once you check off each task on this to-do list, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your household is fortified for any type of weather.
1. Clean Up Outside
When the cold air sets in, it’s time to take a look around your yard. Remove any outdoor furniture you won’t be using until it gets warmer. Placing the items indoors will also prevent them from blowing around in the wind or otherwise becoming damaged.
Place propane and gas grills in your garage. Disconnect your hoses, making sure you don’t leave any water inside. Take the pool down and shut off water valves as necessary. Some homeowners will also need to relocate outdoor plants or cover them. While these chores are helpful during any type of winter storm, they’re an excellent way to protect your home and belongings all the way from fall to spring.
2. Have a Roof Inspection
Heavy snowfall can easily damage your roof and gutters. Annual, professional roof inspections are one of the most effective ways to address roof issues before a winter storm. There’s no need to do it yourself, as scaling your roof can be dangerous. Instead, call a roofing company for a checkup.
Your technician will look for damaged shingles, loose nails and common roof debris such as tree branches. They will also check to see if your gutters need cleaning. By scheduling your evaluation as soon as possible before winter, you’ll have more time to budget and complete any necessary repairs.
Related: How to Save Money on Roof Repair Like a Pro
3. Evaluate Your Furnace
When your furnace is more energy-efficient, it’s easier (and cheaper) to heat your home. This is especially important during a winter storm, when the weather may leave you trapped inside for days. If your furnace is older or you haven’t had an inspection in a while, call an HVAC company. They’ll complete a thorough evaluation to let you know if anything seems out of order.
Once you finish your checkup, you should change your furnace filter. These products are not only affordable, but they are also necessary for keeping your machine in good working order. Plus, they’re simple to install. Enjoy more warmth with a state of the art, pleated model, which also helps trap pet dander and allergens. Switch out the filter every two to three months to keep your heater in top condition.
4. Check Your Pipes
If you don’t have winterized pipes, you’ll need to safeguard them from the hazards of a winter storm. Insulate any areas that are unprotected, especially those in your basement and attic. At the same time, take a look at the caulking and weather stripping around piping to see if it requires repair.
Frigid conditions can make even the newest pipes too cold. Learning how to warm your pipes fast can prevent them from bursting. Locate unheated areas and then turn the nearby faucets on a slow, warm drip. As the water trickles through, it will work to defrost them.
5. Rearrange the Furniture
While the art of rearranging furniture can be fun, it’s also smart to do before a winter storm. Plush couches and large bookshelves can easily block heating vents. This not only makes your furnace work harder, but it also creates a colder, more uncomfortable environment. Make sure every furnishing is away from your vents. At the same time, you can also take a look at your home accents.
Drape blankets on your sofas and recliners so your family can relax on snowy days. Replace lighter garments with thicker materials like fleece and flannel. Relocate table lamps and floor lamps so they are closer to chairs and end tables for easier reading when it’s dark.
6. Locate Winter Equipment
Snowblowers and shovels can be bulky, which is why many homeowners leave them in storage. If your equipment is away from your home, grab it before the first storm. Inspect the items to be sure they start, have enough fuel and don’t need to be serviced.
When you’re done, place them in a spot where they are easy to reach. Many people like to put them in a corner of the garage, while others prefer an enclosed porch or backyard shed. Regardless of your preference, make sure you can access them even in whiteout conditions.
Related: Useful Tips for Driving in a Snowstorm
7. Close Up Your Home
Carefully inspect each window and door in your home for breaches and cracks. In many cases, drafty doors and windows will need new caulk or weather stripping. If one area of your home seems colder than another, consider replacing your windows. Double-paned models are best for warmth and energy efficiency.
Once it gets cloudy or dark, cover your windows. Cellular blinds and shades are some of the best window coverings for winter, as their innovative cell pockets insulate your home and trap warm air inside. Roman shades are also an excellent choice because of their custom fit and insulative properties. As a storm approaches, shut your chimney flue. Inspect each of your windows and doors to make sure they are closed tightly.
Staying Comfortable and Safe in a Winter Snowstorm
Now that you have these winter safety tips in hand, you’re ready to safeguard your home and family. Even if you don’t experience heavy snow, you’ll still be prepared for cold weather. Many of these activities will also make your home safer all year.