How do I get my home ready for winter

Prepare for snow and ice now to stay safe, warm and cozy at home all season long.

Check your house for leaks and drafts

  • Leaks and drafts coming in through cracks in walls, doors and windows can prevent proper heating and increase energy bills. If your energy company doesn’t provide a home energy audit, perform one yourself. Here are a few ways to seal leaks and drafts:
    • Put caulk, foam or weatherstripping around moving doors and windows.
    • Use bubble wrap or a window insulator kit to seal up windows you won’t be using.
    • Add a storm door to reduce heat loss at the main entrance.
    • Install insulation in your attic to prevent ceiling heat loss.
    • Replace poorly insulated doors made of wood with an Energy Star-rated door like steel or fiberglass.
    • Cover mail slots and pet doors with insulation or heavy towels to keep warm air in and cold air out.
    • Use blackout curtains on your windows, keeping them open during the day to let the sun in and closing them at night to keep the heat in.

Get a chimney inspection

Before you use your fireplace or wood stove for heating, have the chimney or flue inspected and cleaned by a professional. This step can prevent fires in chimneys, which along with other wood-burning devices, account for 18,000 residential fires each year.

A blocked chimney or flue can also increase your chances of carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t forget fresh batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

If you have a nonworking or decorative fireplace, you could lose valuable heat through the open fireplace. Investing in a chimney balloon can prevent heat from escaping and cold winter air from coming in. Just make sure to remove it if you want to start a fire later on.