The Ultimate Illinois Winter Home Preparation Checklist
Here in Illinois, we know a thing or two about winters. And one of the most important things we know is how to prepare our homes for the long months of cold and snow ahead. From sealing up drafts to stocking firewood, there’s a lot to do to get your home ready for winter. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here’s a comprehensive checklist of everything you need to do to get your home winter-ready.
1. Check your home’s heating and air conditioning system.
Don’t wait until the first cold snap to find out that your furnace isn’t working properly! Schedule a professional inspection and tune-up of your HVAC system to make sure it’s ready for winter.
2. Paint, caulk and seal exterior wood.
Take care of any cracked or peeling paint on the outside of your home before winter sets in. Caulking and sealing windows and doors will help keep drafts out and energy bills down.
3. Seal your masonry and hard surfaces.
Just like exterior wood, masonry and hard surfaces need to be sealed to protect them from the elements. Masonry sealer will help extend the life of your brickwork, siding, and stone surfaces.
4. Check your drainage.
Make sure your gutters are clear of debris and that downspouts are draining properly away from your foundation walls. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, have it professionally winterized by a qualified technician.
5. Clean your gutters
. . . again. This time of year, leaves are constantly falling, so it’s important to keep your gutters clean to prevent them from getting clogged preventing proper drainage.
6. Check your chimney and order firewood
An annual chimney cleaning is always a good idea, but if you’re going to be using your fireplace this winter, now is the time to do it so you’re not left in the cold! Also, make sure you have enough firewood on hand to last the entire season—nothing is worse than running out on a cold winter night!
7. Check your natural gas or propane tank
If you use propane or natural gas for heating, cooking, or hot water, make sure you have enough fuel on hand to last the winter months—you don’t want to run out in the middle of a blizzard!
8. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This is an important safety step that should be done every year, regardless of whether you’re using a fireplace or not
9. Shut down the pool and the sprinkler system and drain outside faucets
Pools and sprinkler systems need to be properly shut down for the winter so they don’t freeze and crack when temperatures dip below freezing
10. Prepare your lawn for winter
Winterizing your lawn now will help ensure a healthy start come springtime
11. Check your trees
Be sure to remove any dead branches that could fall during a winter storm
12. Make sure your attic doesn’t become a critter hotel
Attics are cozy places for rodents looking for shelter from the cold—make sure yours is well-sealed so you don’t end up with any unwanted guests
13. Get an energy audit
A professional energy audit is a great way to assess your home’s energy efficiency and find opportunities for improvement. Many utility companies offer free or reduced-cost audits, so it’s definitely worth looking into.
14. Test your snow removal equipment
On that first big snowfall of the season, you’ll be glad you took the time to test out all of your snow removal equipment ahead of time
15. Cover or store patio furniture
As the weather starts to cool down, it’s important to take steps to protect your patio furniture. Leaving it out in the elements can cause it to deteriorate quickly, so it’s best to either cover it or store it indoors.
By taking these simple steps now, you can rest assured that your home will be safe and comfortable all winter long!
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