Winter is Coming: A Checklist for Preparing Your House for Winter Skip to content

Winter is Coming: A Checklist for Preparing Your House for Winter

When the last of summer’s heat fades, and you find yourself pulling out hoodies more than shorts, it may be time to tackle a few simple home inspections as well. It’s best to be proactive in prepping your home for the harsh winter months, or else you may find some unwanted surprises next spring.

Here is an easy checklist to prepare your house for snow and the cold winter weather ahead.

Clean and Stow Away Your Lawn Mower

If you are unfamiliar with fuel stabilizers, it’s time to get to know them. If your lawnmower sits for months with gas still in its tank, the gas will start to deteriorate slowly. This deterioration can cause internal damage to the engine.

A quick top-up of Fuel Stabilizer will prevent gas from degrading.

When the seasons start to change, and a lawnmower is no longer needed, top up your gas tanks with a stabilizer. This will keep your spare gas and mower in good condition throughout the winter.

Clean Out Your Gutters

man cleaning the gutter

Clogged rain gutters can result in costly repairs due to the formation of ice dams. To prevent this, it is important to clean out your gutters when the leaves have fallen, and the trees are bare. Remove leaves, twigs, and debris to ensure proper gutter function.

Make sure your gutters aren’t sagging, and there is no trapped water. Tighten or replace damaged gutter hangers and downspout brackets.

Lastly, if you find any colored grit from asphalt roof shingles, this is an urgent sign that your roof needs inspection as well.

If you’re uncertain about your gutters’ condition or need help preparing them for winter, book an appointment with experts. They can assist with cleaning and maintenance.

Do a Quick Roof Inspection

man in a hard hat, holding a clipboard, standing on the steps of an old rundown house.

If you haven’t inspected your roof recently or faced extreme weather, it’s a good idea to check your roof. A quick look can help identify any issues.

If you have a steep or multi-story home, stay safe, and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground. You may also get a professional to inspect your roof.

Look for any small flaws or warning signs, such as buckled, cracked, or missing shingles. Any loose, damaged, or missing roof shingles should be replaced immediately to prevent other costly damage to the home.

Note that roof damage is not always obvious. It’s often the small unnoticeable flaws that can compromise the integrity of the home.

Doing a quick inspection before winter can prevent water damage to the home and help those heating bills from skyrocketing.

Check Your Furnace

heating central gas furnace

Most people forget that home heating and cooling systems need an annual check-up.

To ensure that your furnace is running properly and is at its best during the cold weather, there are some simple tune-ups you can do.

One is to change your furnace filters every two to three months.

Second, if your HVAC has a built-in humidifier, there is a filter in there that also needs to be replaced. HVAC repair is quite common in preparation for cold winters.

Remove Garden Hoses from Outdoor Faucets  

Leaving garden hoses attached can cause the water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes inside your home. When freezing temperatures hit, the water freezes, causing the pipes to expand and possibly burst.

Also, turn off any exterior shutoff valves on outdoor water supply lines. This way, your home will be protected against any minor leaks that may let water enter the external faucet.

Making these home adjustments early in the fall can help protect your home from sudden drops in temperature that can cause damage.

Drain Your Sprinkler System

Just like the outdoor faucets, you want to prevent your irrigation system from freezing during winter and having to replace them.

Even buried irrigation lines can freeze and lead to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

To drain your irrigation system, take the following steps:

  • Turn off the main valve’s water system.
  • Shut off the automatic controller.
  • Open the drain valves to allow access water out of the system.
  • Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them.

Seal Any Air Leaks in Your Home

Do a quick inspection of your home exterior. Take note of any cracks between siding and trims, especially in the sealing around windows and door frames and where wires enter your home.

These small cracks and gaps can allow moisture and cold air into your home. Sealing up these flaws can prevent mold damage and ensures maximum heating efficiency.

Depending on the severity of the cracks, you can grab a couple of tubes of colour-matching exterior caulking and seal the small leaks. For more extreme or extensive damage, contact a professional to ensure your home is solid for winter.

Give your Fireplace and Chimney a Quick Lookover 

swiss holiday cottage

To make sure your fireplace is safe and ready to use, grab a flashlight, and look up inside to make sure the flue is working properly.

All you need to do is make sure the damper opens and closes properly and is free of bird nests and fallen branches.

When looking up through your chimney, you should be able to see the daylight.

Check Your Water Pipes

One important area to check is your water pipes. Frozen pipes can lead to costly damage and inconvenience.

Inspect your pipes for any signs of damage or vulnerability. Also, consider insulating them to prevent freezing during colder weather.

This simple step can help avoid the risk of burst pipes and potential water damage to your home.

Prepare Outdoor Spaces

Clear away leaves and debris from your yard, and store any outdoor furniture or patio furnishings in a secure location.

Cover or protect exterior faucets and outdoor pipes to prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting.

Also, having snow shovels readily available will ensure you’re prepared for snowfall and can maintain clear pathways around your property.

Test Your Smoke Detectors

Safety should also be a priority. You should test and check your smoke detectors. You should also replace the batteries if necessary.

Check the vent pipes for your furnace and water heater to ensure they are clear of any debris or obstructions.

This will help prevent carbon monoxide buildup and ensure proper ventilation.


Don’t wait until the dead of winter to do these home checks. Especially with freezing temperatures and many inches of snow, these inspections become more dangerous and difficult to do. Take advantage of the milder fall weather to ensure your home is prepared for the colder months ahead.

Being a little proactive in the fall can make a significant difference in having a comfortable winter. By performing these simple checks, you can keep your home safe and running smoothly during the harsh winter months. Don’t let unexpected issues catch you off guard when you can address them now.

If you need assistance with any roofing concerns or if you need our services, don’t hesitate to reach out to Fortress Roofing. As experts in the field, we provide professional roofing services to ensure your home is protected from the elements. Contact us today or visit our website to learn more about our services and how we can help you.