Preparing for Winter One Weekend at a Time

A stack of chopped wood.

Winter is getting closer and closer, and with this season comes the need to prepare your home for colder weather. Whether that means projects big or small, it definitely takes some time, effort, and planning to get your home ready to face snow and rock-bottom temperatures. Keep reading to learn how you can accomplish this goal one weekend at a time with everything you need to do to face the winter with confidence.

Bring on the Heat

Once the cold weather hits, everyone in your home will want to be warmed up—fast. To get everything in order to rev up the heat, start by chopping firewood, cleaning your fireplace, gathering newspapers, and bringing wood in to have it on the ready for that first crackling fire. Also, have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. If your furnace has a filter, check it to see if it needs cleaning or replacing.

Consider installing a setback thermostat to save you money and to conserve energy, as these work to keep your home slightly cooler during the night or when you’re away. Finally, switch your ceiling fans to spin in the reverse direction, as it’s said to help circulate heat and keep a room warmer without bumping up the temperature on your thermostat.

Inspect Your Roof

A man standing on a ladder inspecting a roof.

Take a weekend to inspect your roof to ensure it’s ready to stand up to the snow that’s sure to fall this winter. Either use a ladder to make a trip to the top of your home or utilize a pair of binoculars to inspect it from the ground. Look for loose or missing shingles that could cause a leak once snow sits on the roof and eventually melts. If you find any troublesome spots, work to repair them yourself or hire a professional if it’s a more in-depth job.

While you’re on the roof, also use this time to rake or blow fall leaves away from the area. Leaving these on your roof could be harmful as leaves and gathered pine needles are known to hold moisture.

Prepare and Stow Your Mower

One positive thing about winter, at least for many people out there, is that it means it’s time to retire your lawnmower for the season. To do so, you’ll need to do some work to get it ready for its hiatus. To prevent varnishing from occurring, and to rule out eventual problems starting your mower back up come spring, you’ll need to add a fuel stabilizer. Fill the gas tank to the top with a stabilizer, then briefly run the engine to permit the fluid to circulate. Alternatively, you may choose to omit the stabilizer and run the engine until all remaining fuel is used up. Then, cover your mower and store it somewhere safe and dry for the season.

Caulk Windows and Doors

Caulking a window.

No one likes having a drafty house in the winter, so take some time to re-caulk windows and doors over the course of a weekend before the cold weather hits. Experts say that if gaps between siding and windows or door frames are larger than the width of a nickel, it’s necessary to reapply exterior caulk. Use silicone caulk that is “rain ready” so that it can stand up to the elements without shrinking or letting moisture in.

As you’re caulking, also check joints in windows and door frames to see if they require reapplication. Finally, use this time to add weatherstripping around doors. These measures will aid in keeping your home warm, even on the coldest of days.

Test Your Sump Pump

Because the winter typically brings an abundance of moisture and the possibility of a basement flood, taking the time to test your sump pump is worth the investment. To do so, slowly pour several gallons of water into the sump pit. Watch to verify that the pump turns on to ensure it's still in working order.

The thought of getting your home ready for winter can be an intimidating one, but breaking down your to-do list into smaller, weekend projects makes it more feasible. Slowly chip away at these projects and you’ll be ready to face the snowy conditions in no time.