Preparing your Home for Winter

Preparing your Home for Winter

Winter is coming and that means it’s time to check your home for potential maintenance issues. Follow these guidelines to get your house in tip-top shape for the colder months ahead!

Inside Your Home:

  1. Inspect your heating system. Make sure to replace your furnace’s dirty filters to prevent using unnecessary, costly energy and keep up with overall maintenance. Test the furnace’s thermostat for functionality before use. 
  2. Check your doors and windows for drafts. If drafts are present, proper weather stripping of these gaps are needed.
  3. Examine your sump pump. Pour a few gallons of water into the pit to ensure the pump turns on. The sump pump will help keep your basement dry.
  4. Protect your hot water heater with an insulation blanket, your exterior outlets with foam-sealing gaskets, and your unused fireplace with fiberglass insulation. More significant insulation areas such as the attic, walls and crawlspaces should be done well before winter.
  5. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This is especially important during winter months when fires are more common. Be sure to replace batteries at the start of the season.
  6. Flush out your hot water tank, draining any sediment that may be present.
  7. Look in your attic and make sure there aren’t any rodents living there—winter is their favorite time to hole up in homes. Close up any exterior vents. 
  8. Protect entryways and floors from rain and snow with rugs by the door. 
  9. Switch your fans to rotate clockwise, allowing warm air to blow towards the floor to enhance energy efficiency.  
  10. Prepare for a winter storm. Have a portable generator and emergency supplies like water, canned food, a blanket, and flashlight.


Outside Your Home:

  1. Caulk wood trim around exterior windows and doors. This will help insulate them and stop cold air and leaks from coming through.
  2. Protect pipes from freezing, then busting, by disconnecting your garden hose from the outside spigot and letting the water drain out of the line.
  3. Clean your gutters to ensure no leaves or debris are present. This prevents water from pooling up and overflowing, causing water to run down the exterior of your home and creating premature deterioration to the foundation.
  4. Have the chimney swept professionally if you have a wood- burning fireplace. Clear obstructions within the chimney, check the damper for proper opening/closing function, and look for cracked mortar joints between bricks.
  5. Seal masonry surfaces—asphalt driveways, patios, etc. to prevent expansion created by ice, which forms cracks. If cracks are present water intrusion could occur and cause damage. Check for foundation cracks too and seal as necessary.
  6. Check outside drains so water doesn’t seep into your home. Dips around the foundation create water buildup, causing intrusion. Make sure that downspouts are pointing away from the house.
  7. Clear debris off your roof and trim tree limbs so they aren’t in danger of falling on your house, or having icy branches lean on your windows and siding.
  8. Cover patio furniture or store it to prevent damage from snow, rain, wind, etc.
  9. Get shovels, snowblowers and salt ready for the first snow.
  10. Winter can be harsh on your home but keeping up with the maintenance will protect your house for years to come. Call our team of trusted professionals to perform your home inspection this season!  


This article was provided by Sarah Marrinan. Find more great info on Sarah’s website at

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As a Certified Residential Specialist with multiple additional real estate designation, certifications, awards and experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying in MN, Sarah Marrinan would love to share her knowledge and expertise. Proudly servicing the Twin Cities, MN with extra focus in these areas: White Bear Lake, Hugo, Lino Lakes, Centerville, Vadnais Heights, Shoreview, Mounds View, Circle Pines, Mounds View, Forest Lake, Columbus, Wyoming, Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Roseville, Lake Elmo, Stillwater and Oakdale, MN.
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