The best time to prepare your home for winter is BEFORE temperatures drop below zero. So if you haven’t started, here are the steps you need to take.

1. Replace the air filter.

The air filter worked all summer long and now it’s time for a replacement. A new air filter will do a better job of removing contaminants and pollutants from the air, helping your heater function efficiently and keeping energy costs down.

2. Inspect and clean heating vents.

Clear vents of any obstacles and clean off the dust with a vacuum or wet rag. Clean vents will help minimize the amount of dust entering your home’s air supply.

3. Test carbon monoxide detectors.

A battery-operated alarm can help detect the presence of this dangerous gas. Check to see if the batteries are fully charged and replace them if necessary.

4. Check exhaust vents.

Some furnaces, boilers, and gas water heaters vent through a chimney, while newer models might vent through plastic pipes. Check these vents and openings for any obstructions and clear them away.

5. Clean and cover the condensing unit.

Use a hose with a spray head to remove dirt and debris from the fan blades and condensing coils. Wait for the unit to dry before covering for winter. An uncovered condensing unit can be damaged by wet leaves and debris. This can lead to rust and freezing of the internal components. 

6. Insulate exposed piping.

Exposed water pipes in uninsulated spaces, such as in a crawl space, attic, or exterior wall, can freeze during cold temperatures and potentially lead to a crack. 

7. Turn off water supply to exterior faucets.

Outdoor faucets in your front or backyard should not be dripping water in the dead of winter. Be sure to drain water from them by opening up the exterior faucets. Disconnect and drain the garden hoses as well.

8. Insulate the hot water heater.

Use an insulating blanket to cover the water heater and prevent damage from extreme temperatures.

9. Check old windows for air leaks.

Traditional glazing putty holding the glass panes in the frame may crack and fall out. Reglaze the windows to seal any air leaks.

10. Inspect the roof.

Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles and leaks. Take care of repairs as soon as you can.