When winter comes, the cold temperatures and snowfall can put you and your house to the test. It is important to have a plan before the first snowfall to ensure everything goes smoothly this winter. Take a stroll through the inside and outside of your home or business and go through this checklist to prepare for harsh winters. 

Outdoor Precautions: 

Check the Roof for Damage 

Winter weather can take a toll on your roof, so you want to make sure it is in good condition and prepare for harsh winters before they come. Look at your roof and check to see if you have any missing or damaged shingles, drill holes that haven’t been sealed, and anything else that looks out of the ordinary. Any puncture in your roofing can lead to leaks and mold. If you are unsure of what to look for, or cannot physically check your roof, call your local roofing company for a free roof inspection.

Clean Your Gutters 

No one can accurately know when the first snowfall will happen, so make sure to clean your gutters regularly throughout the fall and early winter as the trees lose their leaves. Gutter build-up can lead to multiple issues including ice dams, impeding water flow, and icicles. While you are cleaning your gutters, make sure to look for any issues that might lead you to repair or replace your gutters. If you don’t know what to look for, call your local roofing company for a free gutter inspection. 

Trim Tree Branches 

Trees and their branches can cause a lot of damage to your home. Strong winter winds and heavy snow can easily swing branches into your home or break them off if they are above your home. Give any close trees a trim so they are at least 4-8 feet away from your home. 

Review Winter Emergency Plans 

Winter weather can cause a lot of issues, including power outages and pipe bursts. Sometimes seconds count, so it is important that everyone knows what to do in case of a winter emergency and have a plan. This should include knowing where the main water shutoff valve is and how to turn it. You should have a list of emergency water damage and storm damage contractors ready to call if disaster does strike.

Cover Vents to Prevent Nesting 

Birds and rodents love to find warm places in the winter to avoid the weather. Make sure you have possible entrances blocked off such as vents, chimney, and attic vents and windows.

Lawn Maintenance 

Along with clearing your gutters of leaves regularly, make sure to rake your lawn regularly as well. By raking briskly, you can remove any moss or deep debris that could obstruct drainage over the winter. You can also use a garden fork or lawn aerator to aerate the lawn before the first snowfall.



Seal Air Leaks 

Windows and doors are great at inviting cold winter air into your home. Use the back of your hand, or a lit candle, to find places where cold air is leaking in so you can fix this before the temperatures drop even more for the winter. Check your door frames, windows, baseboards, and the vent leading outside from your dryer. You can use caulk to seal gaps around windows and felt or foam weather stripping for any leaky doors. You can also contact Restoration Builders to see your options for new windows to ensure your nice heated air won’t escape this winter.


Programming your thermostat can bring down your energy costs. Set your daytime temp to a comfortable level and a lower temperature at night while you get ready for bed (try 60F to 68F). If no one is home during the day, you can program the daytime temperature lower as well. You can also upgrade to a smart thermostat, they can detect when it’s safe to lower the temperature and when to boost the thermostat.

Insulate Pipes and Shut Off Water to Hoses 

Add insulation sleeves over water pipes in any cold areas of your home. Examples of these places are the basement, attic, and crawl spaces. When water pipes get too cold, they can freeze and burst. It’s also important to shut off water to your hoses because when water sits in pipes that lead to the outside, cold temps can freeze, expand, and burst the pipes, flooding your basement. Find the valves of the pipes leading to your outside faucets (they’ll be inside, near the main water shutoff valve) and turn them off. Then drain the water from the faucet on the outside of your house.

Close Chimney Damper 

It is important to close the chimney damper when you are not using it to prevent drafts of cold air from entering your home. It is suggested to have your chimney inspected and cleaned to prevent fire damage to prepare for harsh winters.

Ceiling Fans 

Many people don’t realize that ceiling fans have two spinning options: clockwise and counterclockwise. During the winter, your fan should spin clockwise to allow warm air above your head to be pulled down, and during the summer, it should spin counterclockwise so cold air at your feet rises.

Stock Up for The Snow 

Don’t wait until you need something to drive to the store in bad road conditions. Stock up on winter supplies during the fall to ensure you are set for any possibility and to beat the crowds as supplies can sell out. Here are some good supplies to have on hand this winter: 

  • Sidewalk salt to keep driveways and walkways safe 
  • Car window scrapers 
  • Snow shovels 
  • Snow shoveling apparel (boots, gloves, thermal pants/tops, etc.) 
  • Winter windshield wiper fluid 
  • A snow blower (and gas, oil, spark plug, etc.) 
  • Emergency food rations 


All Set? Time to Relax! 

Preparing for winter can be stressful and frustrating, but once you are done, it’s time to relax and settle in for the cozy season. Relax in front of the fireplace, make a nice cup of hot chocolate, and get your cozy fluffy or wool socks out and enjoy the winter scenery.


Are you concerned about your roofing, siding, gutters, or windows and still aren’t sure of how to prepare for harsh winters? Contact us at Restoration Builders, and one of our Consultants will schedule a time to come out to your property and do a free inspection.