The Importance of Winterizing Your Home
Colorado’s cold and snowy winters will put any home to the test. Whether you're new to living in cold weather or a new homeowner, perhaps both, figuring out how to winterize your home is a key component of basic maintenance and preventing expensive damage.
One of the most common problems that you might experience if you skip out on winterizing your home is burst pipes. And not just ones on the exterior of your home. Pipes in an attic, basement or crawlspace are considered exposed, making them more susceptible to damage.
Typically, when water freezes in the pipes, it naturally expands in volume, prevents unfrozen water from passing through and drastically increases pressure. Once the ice thaws, this built-up pressure causes water to rush through, leading to the pipe bursting.
And this is just one of many problems that you can run into. Gutter failure due to ice dams, foundation damage, roof leaks, cracked or peeled caulking, and HVAC failures can all occur if you don't winterize your home. And these types of issues can be far more expensive to repair than the preparation work needed to prevent them.
Now, while we might get a random snowstorm as early as September, taking care of winterizing your home in October is the general rule of thumb—in fact, it's considered the "blowout season" for sprinklers, so if you have a system, call your lawn care professional sooner rather than later to get on their schedule.
Of course, sprinklers are just the start.
Here, we provide a comprehensive checklist that will walk you through how to winterize your home. By following along, you will likely prevent common problems, both inside and out. All it takes is a little bit of work to enjoy a safe and cozy home all winter long.
Click here to download your PDF checklist and keep this valuable information handy.
How to Winterize Your Home's Exterior
- Clear gutters and downspouts then double-check them after the leaves are done falling.
- Hire a roofing pro to inspect for loose/missing shingles or flashing and fix any damage.
- Have a lawn care expert blow out sprinkler lines and shut off the system for the season.
- Disconnect all hoses from your outside faucets and attach an insulated hose bib cover.
- Close crawl space and other exterior vents that were opened for the summer.
- Trim weak or dead tree branches that could break and fall on your roof, car or fence.
- Cover up or store outdoor furniture, grills and hoses in your garage, basement or shed.
- Apply a fresh coat of sealer to any decking to prevent damage from snow build-up and rain.
- To prevent fires and any hazards, have your chimney cleaned, inspected and repaired.
- Buy a snow shovel, salt or sand and other winter supplies well before the snow arrives.
Checklist for Winterizing Inside Your Home
- Have an HVAC professional service the furnace, checking the blower, motor, piping, etc.
- Replace your furnace filter and continue doing so every 4-6 weeks throughout the winter.
- Seal drafts (with caulk/weatherstripping) around doors, windows, lights and switchplates.
- Clean out your window tracks, removing dirt or debris that may prevent proper sealing.
- Test the fireplace flue, confirming it operates properly and forms a tight, closed seal.
- Insulate your water heater along with exposed pipes in areas like a crawlspace or attic.
- Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries if needed.
- Move furniture and other items away from heating vents to ensure efficient airflow.
- Set ceiling fans to turn clockwise, pushing hot air from the ceiling down to the floor.
- Install a smart or programmable thermostat to control temps when you’re not at home.
Next Steps Before The Snow Starts Falling
While some of these items are easy to tackle, you may need to bring in professionals to check on things like your HVAC system and chimney. If you need help choosing a tried and true service professional, be sure to reach out to your PorchLight agent. As your local resource, they can point you in the right direction of a reliable and reputable company.