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How To Prepare Your Home for Winter

holiday kitchen supplies on counter


sitting by the fire, warm slippers

The cold weather has begun, so it won’t be long before winter fully sets in! Just a bit of preparation can make for a much smoother snowy season. Here are our tips on how to prepare your home for winter.

1. Seal your home

Don’t let those brutal winds inside! Your home is your fortress against the cold, so make it as airtight as possible. Give your home a quick run-through, checking for both invisible and visible drafts. You can do this by holding a lit candle near the following areas:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Vents and fans
  • Plumbing areas
  • Air conditioners
  • Mail chutes
  • Electrical and gas lines

If the candle flickers, you’ve got a draft.

Seal up all holes and reinforce existing points of entry with weather stripping. You can pick some up at a local hardware store. Follow the simple installation instructions and you’ll be keeping that cold air out and the warm air inside — right where it belongs.

You can also caulk windows and doors to make sure they’re truly sealed against the cold.

2. Clean your gutters

If your gutters are clogged with wet leaves, they can freeze up and block the drainage, allowing melting ice and snow to slowly seep into your roof and cause a lot of damage. You can do this chore on your own, or hire a professional roofer to get the job done for you for under $100.

3. Invest in a roof rake

It turns out raking isn’t just for autumn! If you live in an area that sees a lot of snow each winter, your roof can be sitting under several feet of snow for a few weeks at a time. All of that snow can get heavy, causing your roof to collapse.

Invest in a roof rake that will help you clear the snow off your roof when it really starts piling up. You don’t want your roof falling in during the coldest time of the year.

4. Reverse your ceiling fans

Flick the reverse switch on your ceiling fans to make the blades spin in a clockwise direction instead of counterclockwise. This way, the fans will produce an updraft, which will push the rising hot air down so it can keep the entire room warm.

This is especially crucial in rooms that have high ceilings, especially if they’re two stories high. You might find that putting your ceiling fans to work allows you to crank down the thermostat by a couple degrees to trim your energy bill this winter.

5. Prune your trees

Take a walk around your home’s exterior and inspect all trees and bushes near its façade. Look for low-hanging or loose branches that are close to your house. If you find any, prune them now so they don’t end up cracking from heavy snow or wind and causing damage to your home.

6. Take inventory of your emergency supplies

Don’t be stuck facing empty store shelves days before the first big storm hits. Prepare now! Stock up on water, canned food, batteries, flashlights and storm lanterns. You may also want to invest in a portable charger or power bank for some juice when the lights go out.

7. Turn off external faucets

As most homeowners know, winter approaching means you need to unscrew your garden hose from the spigot and drain your sprinkler system to prevent any freezing. This can be a bit of a complicated process, so it might be a good idea to call in a professional to do this properly.

8. Protect your pipes from freezing

Did you know that one burst pipe can cost more than $5,000 in water damage?

Prevent your pipes from bursting with these simple steps:

  • Keep your heat on, even when you’re not home. You don’t need to turn the thermostat all the way up when you’re out, but keep it on a moderately warm temperature so your pipes don’t freeze and burst – around 65 degrees is usually safe.
  • Allow the faucets inside your home to drip during severe cold snaps so that the water flows through your cold pipes. Allowing the water to stay stagnant puts it at greater risk of freezing.
  • Wrap any exposed piping to prevent freezing. You can find foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves for pipes and outdoor hose bibs at hardware stores.

9. Check your heating system

Crank up the heat before the cold blows in to check if everything is in working order. After turning on your heating system, walk through your home to check if every heating vent is blowing warm air. If anything needs repairs, tend to it now before it gets truly freezing.

We hope these tips helped you prepare for the winter and avoid costly energy or repair bills. Stay warm out there!

If you enjoyed this article, you can find more just like it on our MoneySmart Tips Blog.


  • KC’s

    That’s correct, scheduling regular maintenance for a heating system is essential, ideally before the onset of cold weather. This should include cleaning the interior of the unit annually, replacing the coolant fluid every two years, cleaning the coils each season, inspecting for worn-out parts during yearly check-ups, and, importantly, replacing the air filters at least every three months.

    Such proactive measures ensure the efficiency of your system, contributing to reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills.

  • Portella

    Thanks for mentioning the importance of sealing windows. To further enhance your home’s energy efficiency, consider the installation of thermally broken steel windows. These windows are designed with a barrier between the interior and exterior window frames, significantly reducing thermal transfer. This feature helps maintain a comfortable indoor temperature by keeping heat inside during winter and outside during summer and improves the home’s energy efficiency. This upgrade can be especially beneficial if the windows in your home are old and less efficient.

  • First Choice

    An additional tip for optimizing your heating system not mentioned is the importance of regularly replacing or cleaning the air filters in your heating system. Dirty or clogged filters can significantly reduce the efficiency of your heating system, causing it to work harder and use more energy. Maintaining clean air filters in your heating system could contribute to better indoor air quality and more efficient energy use, potentially resulting in modest savings on heating bills.

  • Dash

    Thanks for the tips!
    Every homeowner with a central heating system should also ensure that their ductwork is properly sealed and insulated. This small step can significantly improve the overall efficiency of an HVAC system, saving energy and money.

  • Sanders&Johnson

    Preparing your home for winter is crucial. For those who have cold winters, remember that during the colder months, it’s essential to insulate your water heater and its pipes. Proper insulation helps maintain water temperature, reduces energy costs, and minimizes the risk of frozen pipes and potential damage.

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