The Essential Winter Prep Checklist for Your Home

The Essential Winter Prep Checklist for Your Home

Tips to prepare and protect your home now before severe weather comes.

By: Heather Chaet

You nabbed the perfect pair of fleece-lined boots. You ordered the kids their adorable puffy parkas. You found a great snuggly cardigan to toss on each morning. Yes, your family’s wardrobe is ready for winter … but how prepared is your home for the season?

Though meteorologists say this winter probably won’t be as rough as last year’s frigid polar vortex onslaught, we may still battle severe storms and freezing temperatures. What do you need to do now before the big chill? We have the essential checklist to get your home ready for whatever Mother Nature might send your way this winter.

1. Tackle any outside maintenance. Clean those gutters, and fix any damaged roof tiles. Also, survey the trees near your home for loose branches that could fall during severe weather. Drain any hoses, and turn off outside water sources to prevent pipes from cracking.

2. Inspect your snow removal tools. Test that snow blower, and check that your shovels are still usable. Stock up on other outdoor winter needs, such as salt or sand to treat slippery ice patches on the driveway and sidewalks in front of your home.

3. Be sure your furnace and other heating equipment are in good condition , and replace any dirty filters or damaged hoses. If you haven’t had your furnace inspected within the past 12 months, now is the time to call a professional to evaluate how well it is working.

4. Locate emergency essentials such as flashlights, candles, extra batteries, and matches , so you know where to go if the electricity goes out. If you have a backup generator, run a test to ensure it kicks in when the power is disrupted.

5. Fireplaces should be cleaned by a professional chimney sweep at least once a year. Look in the chimney for any nests or critters, and examine the flue, making sure it opens and closes properly. It’s also a good time to replenish your stockpile of firewood with new, dry logs for the season.

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6. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace the batteries. On average, more than 400 people die each year in the U.S. due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The highest number of carbon monoxide-related deaths and hospitalizations are recorded during winter months because more folks use gas-powered equipment to warm their homes. Yes, this one bit of winter prep could save your family’s life.

7. Don’t forget about prepping your car for winter conditions. Aside from scheduling a regular tune-up and adding windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze, look over those tires for worn areas or cracks in the treads. Store winter emergency equipment such as ice removal tools, jumper cables, tire chains, and extra blankets in your trunk.


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8. If you live in an area that often gets hit by severe seasonal weather, take pictures of the outside and inside of your home. This type of photo documentation can be useful for insurance purposes if disaster does strike.

9. Stock up on bottled water. During winter months, frozen or burst pipes can wreak havoc on your home, preventing anything from coming out of that kitchen faucet. Take the time now and gather enough bottled water for drinking and cooking in case you find yourself without running water.

10. Pile up that pantry. After a big storm hits, it may be days before you can get to the grocery store. Plan ahead by purchasing at least three to four days’ worth of non-perishable food and store it a separate area or a labeled bin so you don’t accidentally use up your emergency stash.

What do you do to get your home ready for winter weather?

Heather Chaet documents her mini parenting successes, epic mommy fails, and everything in between for a plethora (love that word!) of publications and websites such as CafeMom, New York Family, and AdWeek. While her online persona is found at, Heather lives in New York City with her film director husband and one insanely curious, cat-obsessed daughter.

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