Deep snow has been shoveled, cleared and piled along the sides of the front yard footpath of this colonial style home. Two small holiday Christmas trees at the end of the walkway are decorated with Christmas ornaments and wide, bright red ribbon Christmas bows. Heavy blizzard snow continues to come down hard and blow around in all directions - already starting to re-coat the slippery surface and cover the fresh footprints. Nothing surprising here - just another early January winter snow storm in a rural suburban residential district neighborhood near Rochester, New York.

Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is coming! See below for a list of top tips for winterizing your home.


  • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  • Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
  • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.


  • Get your HVAC system serviced, and have your duct work checked to be sure the air flow is uninterrupted and free of holes from pests.
  • Reverse all ceiling fans in the house.  This will help push warm air downward and force it to recirculate.
  • Change the air filters in your home.
  • Check the cold air return vents and make sure they are not blocked by furniture.  Your furnace needs these to operate at high efficiency.


  • Rake away all debris and vegetation from the foundation.
  • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
  • Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
  • Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
  • Secure crawlspace entrances.


  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater.
  • Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • After replacing batteries, test all detectors to make sure they work.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace your existing one if it is older than 10 years.


  • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
  • Shut off the water to your hose bibs inside your house (via turnoff valve), and drain the lines. Then  insulate the spigot itself.
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes that pass through unheated areas of your home, like the garage for instance.
  • Flush your water heater to remove built-up sediment.
  • If you do go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.


  • Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
  • If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
  • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
  • Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.


  • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
  • Turn off your sprinkler system.
  • Clear the gutters of fallen leaves and debris.
  • Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
  • Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
  • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.

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