Fall is the time to winterize your home if you live in a cooler climate. You can take precautions now to protect your property from frost damage.
My family in Arizona and Florida don’t need to worry about this, but my fellow northerners will want to winterize before the first frost. Follow this winterizing guide, and don’t miss the printable checklist below.
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Prepare the House for Winter
- Shut off the water flow to your outside faucets and cover them all with faucet covers. You need to have a separate shutoff valve for your outside faucets to shut off the water.
- Remove or cover your air conditioning units if they are AC only (not heat pumps).
- Clean the leaves off your roof and out of your gutters and downspouts. This is quick work with a leaf blower. Use a safety harness!
- Treat your roof for moss before it starts raining too much. Just make sure to disconnect your rain barrels first so you don’t get moss treatment in your collected water.
- Check your heating system. Replace the air filter, turn on the heat and make sure the system is working correctly. You may want to have it professionally serviced and cleaned.
- If you aren’t planning to use your chimney, plug it with a chimney balloon to prevent air leaks. You can always deflate and remove the balloon if you decide to use your chimney later.
- In very cold climates, you may want to cover your crawlspace vents with foundation vent plugs, just for the winter. Your vents need to be open most of the year, but in extreme cold you can cover them temporarily.
- Check if your pipes are insulated. If not, you may want to wrap them in foam insulation.
- Use spray foam to fill any leaky cracks behind baseboards or window frames to prevent air leaks.
Prepare the Yard and Garden for Winter
- Remove any leaves and debris from the drains in front of your house, including any storm drains or French drains.
- Clear your patio or deck. Bring your outdoor rugs, patio furniture, umbrellas, sunshades and other accessories inside, and cover any furniture that is staying outside.
- If your potted houseplants were outside for the summer, bring them back inside before it gets cold.
- Cover any sensitive in-ground plants (like citrus or palm trees) with burlap or a thick layer of mulch.
- Cut back perennial plants that have died down, remove annual plants that are spent, and dig up any bulbs that need to be stored inside for the winter, like dahlias.
- Assess your trees and decide if any need to be cut back before storms hit. If you have trees near power lines, your power company may cut them back for free.
- Turn off and drain your in-ground sprinkler system.
- Disconnect your rain barrels from your downspout and empty them for the winter so they don’t freeze and burst. See rain barrel winterization tips here.
- Empty your pool or hot tub.
Additional Winter Prep
You might also want to evaluate your stock of winter emergency preparedness gear. Consider gathering sand bags, a snow shovel, firewood, candles, flashlights, batteries and a generator, depending on which kind of winter mayhem you’re likely to face in your region.
It might be a good time to stock your pantry with extra food and water, too.
Don’t forget to plant your spring bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, before the first frost. Then, after you’re all set for winter, reward yourself with a heaping plate of turkey and cranberries.
Get the Printable Winterizing Checklist
Want the printable version of this checklist? It’s available in the home resources section of my library. Sign up to get free access.