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Winter Preparation for Homes

The end of the fall season is a good time to start preparing for winter. The winter cold and snow can do significant damage to your home, so it is important to be prepared beforehand in an attempt to prevent any problems. Take into consideration these checklist items and suggestions as you begin to prepare your home for the winter season.

Winter Preparation Checklist

  • Roof – Hire a contractor to inspect the structure of your roof and its ability to sustain unusually heavy weight of snow. Additionally, check for roof leaks and have them repaired. Also, clean and maintain rain gutters.
  • Chimney and Flue – Have your chimney or flue cleaned and inspected each year.
  • Tree Branches – Cut away any branches that could potentially fall on your home during a storm.
  • Snow-Removal Equipment – Service all snow-removal equipment and ensure they are properly working.
  • Thermometers – Install easy-to-read indoor and outdoor thermometers. One’s ability to sense a change in temperature decreases with age. Check the temperature of your home often to prevent health problems caused by cold.
  • Doors and Windows – Calk and weather-strip doors and windows. Additionally, it may be a good idea to install storm windows or cover them with plastic from the inside.
  • Pipes – To prevent pipes from freezing or bursting, insulate any pipes along outer walls, and turn faucets to a slow drip. Be sure to learn how to shut off your water valves in case you experience a pipe burst. Additionally, disconnect hoses from outside faucets before the first freeze.
  • Insulation – Insulate the walls and attic of your home in an attempt to keep the warmth inside and cold temperatures out.
  • Heat Sources – If you have a fireplace, wood stove or kerosene heater in your home, make sure there is a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector nearby and that they are vented to the outside air. Test these devises monthly and replace the batteries twice a year.
  • Pets – Make plans for your pets to be indoors during the winter months.

Prevent and Prepare for Emergencies

In addition to the cold temperatures and snow, many areas face the possibility of severe winter storms. These storms have the ability to knock out power, electricity and communication. In order to be prepared in the event that your and your family are isolated in your home, make sure you have an updated emergency supplies kit ready and available. suggests the following items for your supply kit:

  • Food (at least three days worth of non-perishable food per person);
  • Water (at least a gallon per person per day);
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both;
  • Flashlight and extra batteries;
  • First aid kit;
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation;
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities;
  • Manual can opener for food;
  • Local maps; and
  • Cell phone with chargers.

For the winter months, it also is important to have a sufficient supply of heating fuel in case your regular source becomes cut off. Ensure you and your family has an adequate amount of clothing and blankets to stay warm as well.

Take Measures to Protect You and Your Home

Make sure your home is properly prepared for winter. Taking necessary precautions beforehand can save you from the physical and emotional burdens later. For more information on preparing for winter, visit


© 2020 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.