With winter on the way, many of us are looking forward to cozy fireside cups of cocoa or hitting the slopes with family and friends. While planning for a fun-filled winter, though, it’s important not to overlook the steps you should take to ensure a safe and healthy winter, as well. Before the chill in the air sets in for good, there are steps you should take to prepare your home and family for the cold winter weather.
No matter the age of your home, it needs regular attention and maintenance. Though it can be tempting to focus on the more fun-filled activities that fall brings, you’ll be grateful for the time you take now to prepare your home for the cold months ahead.
Preparing Your Home for Winter
Don’t want until the last minute to stock up on essentials before a coming storm; the best preparation for winter weather begins months before the first snowflake falls. While every home is different and will, therefore, have different needs, winter preparation tasks fall into groupings of shared categories that apply to every situation.
Taking care of the structural, mechanical, and HVAC equipment and systems in your home may sound like a large undertaking, but many items on the checklist below can be completed on your own in a matter of minutes, while many common repairs take under an hour.
In some instances, no matter how handy you are, you really should call in a pro. While you can replace air filters in your HVAC system and reseal ducts with duct tape on your own, you should still schedule an inspection with a qualified HVAC technician before winter arrives. Depending on the type of heating system in your home, your HVAC system should be inspected and cleaned 1-2 times per year. Similarly, fireplace and chimney inspections should be completed by a professional, and it’s best to get the opinion of an experienced arborist if you’re unsure about the health of any trees on your property.
Not sure whether you can DIY a repair or if it’s time to call in a professional? Come by Owenhouse Ace Hardware and talk to one of our experts and we can help you sort it out!
Is Your Home Ready for Winter?
Follow our Bozeman winter checklist to keep your home secure and warm this year!
- Change the air filters in your HVAC system. These should be changed, at a minimum, every three months. If you have pets in your home, or if you or a family member has allergies, replace filters monthly.
- Have your heating system inspected and have the necessary components cleaned or repaired by an HVAC contractor.
- Inspect the exterior surfaces of your home for minor gaps and cracks that need to be filled.
- Inspect the interior of your home for gaps or cracks around doors and windows and seal these to prevent drafts.
- Check electrical outlets and switch boxes on interior walls for drafts and insulate, if needed.
- Check attic, basement, and garage for any signs of rodents or pests and call an exterminator to address potential issues. Seal any potential entry routes you find in these areas.
- Check for and repair any leaks in pipes and faucets.
- Insulate water pipes in unheated spaces as well as those against outdoor walls.
- If you aren’t sure how or aren’t comfortable draining and maintaining your water heater, schedule water heater maintenance.
- Drain outdoor hoses, sprinklers, and faucets.
- Remove hoses from outdoor faucets and store them indoors or in the garage or shed over winter.
- Cover hose bibs with insulated covers.
- Clean gutters of leaves and other debris.
- Look over the trees in your yard or those near your house for signs of damaged or diseased limbs. Trim any branches that pose a danger to your property and call an arborist to inspect any trees that appear unhealthy.
- Order firewood or heating oil, if necessary.
- Apply fall fertilizer and overseed your lawn, if needed or desired.
- Cover or bring in your patio furniture and another landscaping decor that could be damaged or cause damage over the winter months.
- Drain gas from your lawn equipment and clean it before storing it for the winter. Not sure how to do this? Stop by Owenhouse Ace Hardware for the advice and tips you need on winterizing your power equipment.
Winter Emergency Preparedness
Preparing your home for winter also means preparing for winter weather and emergencies. The checklist below covers the basic emergency preparation steps you should take before winter to protect your home and your family, and you may want to add tasks depending on your needs.
- Make sure you have one or more strong, durable snow shovels to clear your porch, walkway, and sidewalk.
- If you have a snow blower, inspect it and ensure it is in working order before you need it this winter. You can visit Owenhouse Ace Hardware if you find it in need of repair or need to pick up replacement parts.
- Make sure you have enough de-icing or ice melt compounds at home and in your car to get you through the winter.
- Check and repair (or invest in) emergency heating equipment that can heat parts of your home should you lose power over the winter.
- Check and repair (or invest in) a backup generator that can power your critical appliances and medical equipment should you lose power for an extended period over winter.
- Check your fire extinguishers—you should have at least one fire extinguisher in working condition on each floor of your home and in any outbuildings
- Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. While house fires can occur all year, they peak in December and January. Be sure to test your smoke and CO detectors every month and change the batteries at least every six months.
- Create or replenish your home emergency kit. Keep it stocked with a five day supply of prescription and non-prescription medications for you and each member of your family, a five day supply of food and water for each member of your family and any pets, and cold weather sleeping bags or emergency blankets.
- Your home emergency kit should also include a portable cooking stove, battery-operated flashlights and lanterns, and backup batteries for each, a manual can opener, NOAA weather radio, a portable battery-operated radio, and first aid kit.
- If you don’t have a generator that can power your phone, you should also keep a solar-powered phone charger or backup battery cell on hand.
Contact One of Our Local Experts for More Help and Information!
While this checklist can serve as a jumping-off point for your home winterization planning, you may have other projects in your home or outside that need your attention, as well. Whether you have a project to take on and you’re not sure where to start or you need to pick up the tools and supplies to get your house winter-ready, Owenhouse is here to help! With friendly experts in every department, you’ll find all the equipment, tools, and tricks of the trade you need to check off every last item on your list. Give us a call or swing by today and see why our friends and neighbors in Bozeman have trusted Owenhouse Ace Hardware for their hardware and home improvement needs for more than 100 years.
- Visit our Parts & Repair Shop to get the replacement parts you need for your snowblowers and generators.
- Buy or replace winter weather power equipment in our Power Equipment Department.
- Stop by the Electrical Department for surge protectors, flashlights, batteries, and more that you need to keep your family and house safe during the cold winter months.
- Take care of repairs around the house and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and other home safety products from the Hardware Department.
- Replace old appliances, or find items for your home emergency kit such as can openers, candles, and radios in the Housewares Department.