Autumn is a good time, while the weather is still reliable, to prepare your home for the cold winter months ahead. Start at the top and work down to make sure all areas of your home are ready.

Roof

Inspect your roof from the ground, or hire a professional, and check for damaged or missing shingles, or worn or curling edges. Repair or replace your roofing materials as needed. For steel roofing, this is the time to check that all ice guards are in place and undamaged.

If your home is prone to ice dams, check your venting and insulation. Consider researching roof ice melting systems.

Also check out the chimney. If the mortar is loose or missing, hire a professional to tuck point it for you. And check that you have a sturdy chimney cap to prevent critters’ access, looking for winter lodging.

Clean your eavestroughs of any leaves or debris to avoid clogs and spilling from heavy rains and snow.

Fireplaces

Hire professionals to clean and inspect your furnace, chimney, and all fireplaces, whether wood burning or gas. This will help them run at peak efficiency and also protect your family from potential carbon monoxide poisoning.

Windows and Doors

Check the caulking and weather-stripping around all your windows and doors and other areas where exhaust pipes penetrate the walls of your home. Replace any that shows excessive wear or cracking.

Foundation

Inspect your foundation and repair any cracks. Adjust the landscaping to ensure that water runs away from your home. Also take a look at eavestrough downspouts and make sure they are directed away from your home’s foundation.

Remove all hoses and drain them and the spigot completely to prevent bursting pipes. Clean and store all patio furniture and tools and move the snow shovels and snowblower to the front (and holiday lights and decorations too, while you’re there!). Inspect your equipment to ensure it’s in good working order. The first snowstorm is not the time to discover a broken snowblower! You should also have some driveway salt on hand too, just in case.

You may also want to seal any driveway cracks to prevent winter’s freeze/thaw from making the cracks worse.

And finally, take one last tour of your property for anything you may have missed. Porch lights are easier to replace before temperatures drop below zero. Trees that need trimming are better looked after now too.