With cold weather on the horizon, there’s a lot to do to prepare your home for winter. Don’t wait until the last minute to address key areas of snow readiness. Winterizing your home properly can take weeks if not months, so get started as soon as you can with these winter tips for your home.
Stock Your Emergency Preparedness Kit
Though you always hope you won’t need it, it’s smart to keep an emergency kit on hand in case of a winter storm. This kit should contain all the essentials you would need to survive without electricity or transportation out of the house for a few days. This includes:
- A three-day supply of food and water
- A hand-crank or battery-powered radio
- First-aid kit
- Personal hygiene items
- A week’s supply of necessary medication
- Portable phone chargers
- Pet supplies
- Alternative heating methods like a wood-burning stove or fireplace
- Blankets and warm clothing
Keep in mind that you may run into many different types of hazardous situations. You may not lose power, but you could find that you’re homebound due to impassable roads. You might not need three days of food and water, but you may have to stay warm for a night without power. Make sure your kit includes the essentials for any circumstance. Don’t wait until the last minute to stock up. By this time, store shelves are often bare.
Trim Back Trees
Preparing your home for winter includes both indoor and outdoor inspections. Begin by looking to the trees. If there are branches extending above the spot where you park your car or reaching out over your home’s roof, you should trim these back. While falling leaves are a messy hassle in the autumn, the potential damage in winter is much worse.
The added weight of the snow can cause old or weak branches to sag dangerously. If the weather is bad enough, even healthy branches can sustain enough damage to break, dropping their weight on the items below. Tree trimming is usually a job for a professional, so don’t take on this task yourself unless you have extensive experience in the area.
Don't Get Snowed In: Supplies to Get Your Car Out
Snow and ice can quickly trap your car, preventing you from getting out of the house to go to work, school, or other important destinations. Make sure you have a durable shovel on hand that’s in good shape. Rock salt is another important item; it helps to melt ice and gain traction in tricky conditions. It’s often not easy to find rock salt or similar melting agents once the winter weather has really set in. It’s best to stockpile early and buy enough to get you through the season.
If you don’t have a garage or room to keep a hefty stash of salt at home, consider keeping one bag in your car and the rest in a nearby storage unit. This way, you can restock as needed without cluttering up your house.
Winterize Your Home for Cozy Warmth
Don’t let your heat escape this winter. Once the snow starts falling, it’s difficult if not impossible to get out and repair your roofing or seal windows and doors from the outside. These are jobs you should tackle long before those flurries fall. Inside, you should caulk the non-moving areas around windows and doors and add or inspect the weather stripping.
Add storm doors and storm windows in place of window and door screens. Check your home’s siding for signs of damage. Pay particular attention to wood window frames and look for signs of rot or decay. It’s important to address these problems early before the cold and damp of impending snow make the issues worse.
Stock Up on Firewood
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If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove that you use for heat or comfort during the winter, you’ll want to keep a supply of firewood on hand throughout the season. Firewood is best stored in a dry place, off the ground and away from the house. If you keep the wood against your exterior walls, it creates a welcome home for many pests.
If you have a place to store your firewood, you can pick up what you need for a week or two, but leave the extra in a safe, dry spot until you need it. Prepare your home for winter by stocking up on firewood early, when you can still find a good deal.
If you’re wondering how to prepare for winter, these activities will give you a strong start. Winter preparation can take some time, so it’s never too early to start. A little forethought and planning now will help keep your family warm, safe, and happy no matter what the season has in store.