4 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather

Danny Lipford caulks around the windows outside a home.
There are a few things every homeowner should do before the weather turns cold. (Translation: Whip out that caulk gun!)

The leaves are falling, and snow season is just around the corner. As the mercury drops, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for cold weather.

Getting ready now can save you a lot of time and trouble when the first blizzard hits. So, here are four tips to prepare for winter’s arrival.

1. Seal and Insulate

A small investment in weather sealing can save you a lot of money on your energy bills and help you stay warm during cold weather.

Close gaps around doors and windows with weather stripping or caulk. In addition, inspect your insulation in the attic, basement, walls and around pipes. Consider adding more if you notice the insulation is sparse or you feel drafts.

Finally, use draft stoppers under interior doors to prevent heat loss from room to room. You can purchase some at the home center, or make your own.

Rustic fireplace with shiplap surround
A fireplace inspection is a must before a cold snap. In fact, go ahead and schedule a professional’s visit once a year.

2. Clean the Fireplace

A fireplace needs annual maintenance — at a minimum — to ensure it runs efficiently and safely. Otherwise, it could fail during cold weather, or worse, present a hazard.

Hire a professional chimney sweep to make sure your fireplace is safe and soot-free before firing up those logs.

And when it is time to light a fire, only use firewood that has been seasoned and dry for at least six months.

Finally, when you’re not using your fireplace, keep the flue closed to prevent cold air from leaking in and raising your heating bill.

Well stocked pantry with canned goods, cereal and other household essentials
Stock up on nonperishable items before cold weather comes. And keep plenty of gas on hand for a generator.

3. Stock the Shelves

The last thing you want is to get snowed in and run out of toilet paper, food or other essentials. It’s especially important to keep a well-stocked pantry during winter months.

Make sure you have an adequate supply of toiletries, paper goods and shelf-stable food.

You should also stock up on cold-weather items like ice melt, salt and sand as well as candles for power outages.

If you have a gas generator, get it inspected before you need it, and make sure you have plenty of fuel on hand. It will come in handy for plugging in a space heater as an alternative heating source.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf spraying Miss Muffet's Revenge on spiders in a garage
Miss Muffet’s Revenge is the best solution for removing spiders and preventing an infestation.

4. Get Rid of Pests

If you get cold outside, so do bugs like spiders, cockroaches and termites. Keep the creepy crawlies from intruding on your cozy evenings by calling in an exterminator.

Having your home fumigated before the chill sets in can keep bugs from entering in the first place so you don’t have to deal with an infestation. A professional swat team or exterminator can also look for and close off entrance points.

If you’re concerned about spiders, in particular, purchase Miss Muffet’s Revenge, a do-it-yourself solution for infestations.

Although good preparation is important, not every situation can be predicted. Keep emergency supplies like a first aid kit, flashlights and matches in a convenient location in case cold weather takes a turn for the worse.

And check your local news each day to see when a winter emergency is imminent.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio.

Heat Your Home Week, official Today's Homeowner graphicIt’s Heat Your Home Week, sponsored by American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning!
Want to make sure your home is nice and toasty from the first cold snap? Click for all the money-saving advice you need to stay warm and comfortable.


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