Getting Ready For Winter Home Checklist

Use this home winterizing checklist to make sure that your home interior and exterior are ready for winter and cold weather.

Be sure to do some fall cleaning and maintenance inside and fall cleaning for your exterior and patio, too. 

Getting Your House Ready for Winter

Now that it is officially fall… it is time to get winterizing your home!

(I know!!  I am as bad as retailers toting Christmas in July…)

But the truth is no one wants to get stuck  out in the freezing cold to getting your storm windows in place.  And if you don’t get those sprinklers clear of water, come spring, chances are you are going to have some burst pipes…

Prepping early will save you time, discomfort and money!

Winter home checklist

Winter Home Checklist


Why print this checklist? Add it to your matching cleaning binder so you always know what needs done and when (and take notes of when you did it last!)

Prep Your Heating System:

  • Replace the Air Filter:
    • Put in a new, clean air filter!   With winter around the corner it is time to start thinking about being inside and that indoor air quality and ways you can keep the air nice and clean!  If you are sensitive to irritants in the air, try the Filtrete Micro Allergen Reduction Filter which provides a balance of particle capture and airflow, thus helping to prevent stress on the system as well as reducing the amount of energy needed to reach desired temperatures.  Best part, it lasts for up to 3 months!  So you have the added bonus of not having to do this monthly, as the season goes on!

winter home checklist-4

  • Do a Test Run your Heater.  
    • Turn your thermostat to heat, and push that temperature right up to 80 degrees (this is just for testing)  Listen for you heater to turn on and check that warm air is coming from the heating vents within a few minutes of turning it on.  If everything runs properly, go ahead and turn your thermostat off of heat.  If it’s not running properly, you can try trouble shooting if you feel comfortable doing so, or now is the time to contact a qualified service technician to prep the machine before the temperatures drop.
  • Seasonal Maintenance Checkup:
    • Now is a a good time to set up a yearly checkup on your machine.  If you haven’t had one recently, set one up today.
  • New Thermostat:
    • If you wanna save some money this winter, consider buying a new thermostat if you have an older one.  Update it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.  According to EnergyStar, the average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with half of this directly related to heating and cooling costs.
  • Check your Fuel:
    • If you have a propane or oil furnace, make sure to have your fuel storage tank topped off and ready to go.
  • Heating Vents:
    • Clear obstacles to heating vents so air can freely flow.
  • Check for Carbon Monoxide Leaks:
    • We have a carbon monoxide tester running plugged into an outlet year round.  But it is especially important in the winter months.  Save lives by protecting your family from this silent killer.  It can easily be detected with either an inexpensive test badge or battery operated alarm.   Get one all set and ready to go today.  (good time to check your smoke alarms too, be sure to check out our seasonal checklist)
  • Prep your cooler for winter:
    • Be sure to clean up your cooler and remove any dust or debris and cover the unit.  If you have an evaporative cooler follow the steps to be sure the water is properly turned off etc.
  • Chimney prep:
    • Whether you use a fire burning stove for daily heating, for pure enjoyment, or for emergency heat you need to prep the chimney.  Be sure it is clear from birds or animal nests of any kind and any soot or creosote.  Have it swept and checked for any damage, cracks or voids.  If any damage exists it can be a huge fire hazard.  Have it fixed immediately to  ensure the safety of your home and family.

Plumbing  Prep:

  • Insulate Exposed Pipe
    • Any spaces in your home with exposed pipe, you will need to insulate.  Check your basement, crawl space, exterior walls and attic.  This will hopefully help keep your pipes from freezing and bursting, it can also help to keep your water heating bills down.
  • Exterior Faucets
    • Be sure to turn you exterior hose bibbs off and drain them.  There are also thermal covers you can place over the hose bibs, so consider using one of those for added protection.  Also don’t forget to drain and store your garden hoses, if you hope to use them again next year.
  • Watering System Shutdown.
    • Don’t forget your sprinkler system!   Have your sprinkler system winterized no later than the end of October. You need to follow the instruction to shut it down and clear out the pipes of any water, to avoid burst pipes come spring!
  • Insulate your Water Heater:
    • Be sure to insulate your water heater to keep you money from just floating away!


Other Misc. Interior Prepwork:

  • Proper Insulation:
    • Besides your ceiling and wall insulation, don’t forget the seemingly small nooks and crannies.  Try installing foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
  • Ceiling Fans:
    • Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.  (Aha moment!  Now you know why you have that option to switch the direction of ceiling fans!)
  • Seal Leaks:
    • Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use an expandable spray foam sealant to plug up any holes that might cause leaks.
  • Emergency Supplies:
    • I don’t know if you feel the same way, but I feel like lately there have been a lot more bad winter storms that have effected whole communities.  Be sure that you do some prep work so that you can safely take care of your family for up to 4 days without the needing to go to the store.  Some emergency supplies to consider include enough food, water and supplies to last four days without power or help.    This list is just a beginning.  So, when making preparations, consider the needs of your family.
      • Each person needs at least 1 gallon of water a day, plan accordingly.
      • Food that can be stored without refrigeration, such as canned goods, cereals and energy bars.  Have on hand.
      • Manual can opener.
      • Flashlights with batteries (I love the LED candles as a great alternative for ambient safety light, and they have a long battery life)
      • First Aid Kit, including at least a 4 day supply of prescription medicine.
      • Food for pets

 Other Exterior Maintenance:

  • Check the Roof:
    • Check roof for missing or damaged shingles and have them replaced.
    • Be sure to check flashing around chimneys and other roof projections which are often the source of leaks.
    • Clean out the gutters and make sure the downspouts are free from leaves and debris.  Leaving wet leaves in your gutter can add significant weight and volume and not allow water to pass through, and ultimately cause flooding.  Also check that the gutters are properly fastened, because the added weight of snow and ice can pull the gutters off the house.
    • Check drainage around the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
  • Critter Homes:
    • Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.
  • Doors:
    • Be sure there are no air leaks coming through the doors.  The easiest fix here is to check for weatherstripping on the side and bottoms of the doors. Install weatherstripping on any leaking doors.
  •  Windows:
    • On a day when it’s windy outside, close your windows and feel for air leaks.  Where possible around the window, caulk or fill any leaks that you find.
  •  Trees:
    • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem in harsh weather.
  • Lighting
    • For safety during the longer dark nights, inspect the outdoor lighting.   Make sure the space is lit well to avoid accidents.
  • Safety Rails
    • Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.


In the Car:

Don’t forget your car!  Roads can be hazardous in the winter and getting stranded on the side of the road could very well be alife threatening situation if you are not prepared.  Here are some considerations to think about.

  • All Systems Go:
    • Check antifreeze
    • Check and/ or replace older batteries
    • Remember to keep the gas tank near full to avoid freezing water in the fuel line
    • Check tires and spare tire for proper inflation
  •  Create an Emergency Supply Kit:
    • If you live in a place with icy winters, here are some items that maybe good to have on hand.
      • Bag of sand, road salt or non-clumping cat litter. The bag’s extra weight means better traction, and the contents can be spread under slipping tires.
      • Ice scraper, jumper cables, small shovel (to dig snow away from wheels, or scatter sand on roadway), Tire chains (every driver should practice putting them on), flares or reflective triangle to warn other motorists if you break down, blanket to keep yourself and your family warm, flashlight and batteries, drinking water, first aid kit, nonperishable food, cash, extra jacket, and a backpack.


Now that your list is all taken care of!  What will you do with your free time?  I kid, I  kid, there is always the “honey-do” list, always!!!!  What else is on your winter home checklist?

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Special Thanks to Filtrete Filters Who sponsored this post.   Filtrete Brand from 3M makes an entire line of air filters for your home’s heating and cooling system—there’s one for each family’s needs and lifestyle. They start at just a few dollars, last up to three months and can be purchased at Lowe’s, Target, Walmart, Costco and your local hardware store. Find a location near you by visiting   You can register to receive seasonal e-newsletters featuring special offers, filter change reminders, better home living tips and more by visiting thier website,

Filtrete Filters are the most trusted brand of furnace filters. They are up to four times better than ordinary pleated filters and are consistently rated #1 by a leading magazine that rates consumer products.  Filtrete Filters help create a healthy home and healthier indoor air by capturing airborne dust, allergens, bacteria and viruses.  

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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. Noooooo….I’m not ready for winter!!! Don’t say such mean things about getting ready for winter! Haha…but seriously, thanks for the list. There were a couple things on it that I wouldn’t have thought of even though now they seem sooooo obvious to me (hello…like cleaning out heating vents after a summer of non-use!).

    1. I know… I am sorry! Talking about winter at the beginning of Fall is mean, but alas, we gotta do these things right? or at least one or two. Making the list really opened my eyes to how much prep there should or could be on a home… I just hadn’t thought about it in the past.