November 07, 2018

Winter is Coming... Are You Prepared?

Winter weather can range widely in the United States. From the deep snow of the Mid-West to the ice storms of New England and the persistent tule fog of central California, every region has its unique way of telling you: "Winter is coming." But bottom line, with a bit of preparation, you can keep the cold outside and you and your family warm inside!

Here are some tips.

Clean Your Gutters and Roof

  • Completely clear roofs, gutters, and downspouts of all leaves, branches, and dirt. Clogged gutters can become places for snow and ice to build up, and the excess weight can stress the roof or encourage rot to set in.
  • While you're on the roof, look for missing shingles, areas that have become soft, separating gutters and other damage that may need to be addressed.

Stay Warm

  • If you have a fireplace or wood stove, have the chimney inspected and cleaned, removing creosote build-up and ensuring no cracks or breaks have developed in the ceramic liner. Chimney fires are extremely dangerous.
  • If you have a furnace, have it inspected annually in the fall, before winter weather sets in and be sure to change the filter. If needed, consider having your  furnace cleaned before the temperatures really drop.
  • Look for air gaps around window and door frames. This proves easiest when it's light on one side of the wall and dark on the other.  Squirt expanding foam insulation or caulk into gaps and holes in your exterior house wall, especially around pipes or wires. Cold air blowing on pipes can freeze them.

Weatherproofing Your Home's Exterior

  • Drain garden hoses and bring indoors. Turn off indoor shutoff valves to exterior water spigots and purge lines to prevent residual water in pipes from freezing.
  • Rake away leaves and rotting vegetation from your house's foundation.
  • Trim tree branches hanging over your house, electrical wires or outbuildings. Remove dead and damaged trees and branches, paying particular note to trees with shallow roots.

Winter Weather Essentials

What would a discussion about winterizing your home without reminders to stock up on the essentials. Keeping supplies on hand to help you through a storm or power outage will keep you safe.

  • Snow melt
  • Sand or kitty litter for traction
  • Snow shovels
  • Flashlights
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • A battery-powered radio, especially a NOAA radio or two-way device
  • Camp or hurricane lantern with fuel and back-up wicks
  • A camp stove and fuel
  • Two or three blankets
  • Bottled water
  • Seven days' worth of non-perishable food and a can opener if needed

Learn more about winterizing your home on