Winter-Ready Checklist: Prep Your Home for the Cold Months

About the Author: David Perrotti

Dave has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, is a Bestselling Home Improvement Author on Amazon, and constantly seeks to reinvent the remodeling industry. As a veteran of the Army and Air Force, Dave operates his business, Fine Home Contracting, on the core army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.

In Connecticut, winter’s freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and icy conditions can wreak havoc on homes. Preparing properly for the cold season well in advance ensures your home stays warm, powered, and protected from damage when winter storms strike. Use this comprehensive winterization checklist to get your home fully ready inside and out before temperatures drop. Checking off these maintenance tasks, upgrades, supply checks, and contingency plans makes homes winter-ready and gives Connecticut homeowners peace of mind.

Protect Outdoor Areas

Safeguarding the exterior and landscaping around your home before winter prevents costly repairs and dangerous conditions. Prioritize these key areas outside the home.

  • Winterize Landscaping

    Trim trees and bushes to prevent heavy snow from weighing down branches and causing breakage. Plant cold hardy annuals and mulch flower beds. Disconnect and drain hoses, then store indoors along with potted plants and delicate furniture. Shut off and winterize irrigation systems and backflow valves.

  • Maintain Gutters

    Clear debris from gutters so melting snow can drain freely. Check for leaks and make any gutter repairs before winter. Install gutter guards to prevent future clogs from leaves. Consider heat cable along the roofline to prevent dangerous ice dams in the gutters.

  • Weatherproof Outdoor Structures

    Check for exterior cracks around porches, foundations, doors and windows then caulk and seal thoroughly. Insulate garage doors and sheds. Make roof repairs. Clean debris from window wells and cover with durable plastic covers. Insulate basement window wells too. Apply fresh waterproofing sealant to decks/patios.

Insulate the Home

Preparing your home’s insulation, windows, doors and openings blocks drafts and helps retain warmth indoors all winter long, saving on heating bills.

  • Caulk and Weatherstrip

    Inspect where different building materials meet and seal with caulk and weatherstripping. Key spots include windows, doors, attic entry points, electrical outlets/switches, dryer vents, and HVAC components. Applying silicone caulk then painting over top looks neat.

  • Insulate Attics

    Check attic insulation levels – most homes need at least R-49 rating. Top off existing insulation or upgrade to spray foam for optimal efficiency. Don’t neglect basement or crawl space insulation too.

  • Update Windows and Doors

    Replace any aging, inefficient windows and doors with newer energy efficient models. Ensure tight seals with weatherstripping. For added insulation, install plastic film window kits over the frames. Close exterior shutters too.

Prepare Plumbing

Extreme cold puts home plumbing at risk for leaks, bursts and freezing. Take preventative measures to avoid water damage and costly repairs.

  • Insulate Pipes

    Wrap exposed pipes with specially designed foam pipe insulation. Prioritize areas prone to freezing like unheated basements, crawl spaces, garages and attics. Seal gaps at openings. For extreme cold climates, consider heat tape.

  • Shut Off and Drain Systems

    Shut off and completely drain exterior hose bibs. Shut off and drain any household sprinkler supply lines. Consider shutting supply and draining water lines to unheated outbuildings over winter.

  • Maintain Water Heater

    Inspect your home’s main water heater to ensure optimal performance. Drain any sediment buildup from the tank. Check pressure relief and overflow valves. Replace tank anodes if needed.

Update HVAC Systems

Heating and cooling systems work hard during Connecticut winters. Proper maintenance ensures efficient operations and reduces costly repairs.

  • Schedule Tune-Ups

    Arrange professional tune-ups for the furnace, heat pump, or boiler. Technicians will check for leaks, adjust combustion levels, change filters, and clean parts. Optimize efficiency.

  • Change Air Filters

    Replace furnace filters monthly during winter. Clogged filters reduce airflow and efficiency. Electrostatic pleated filters trap more allergens. Properly sizing your filter improves air quality.

  • Clean Ductwork

    Professionally clean HVAC ducts to remove dust, dander and debris that restricts airflow. Sanitizing ducts improves indoor air quality and reduces strain on your system.

Prepare for Power Outages

Winter storms with freezing rain, ice and heavy snow can cause downed trees, damage, and power failures. Be ready to safely weather outages.

  • Stock Emergency Supplies

    Prepare a winter storm kit with bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, blankets, hand warmers, and backup phone chargers. Maintain at least a 3 day supply.

  • Maintain Backup Power Sources

    Test and fuel generators regularly. Install fresh batteries in battery-powered lighting, radios, and chargers. Have portable chargers fully charged. Maintain chainsaws and fuel for tree removal.

  • Charge Essential Electronics

    Ensure phones, tablets, laptops and backup batteries are fully charged before storms. Unplug electronics to avoid power surge damage when electricity is restored.

Ready the Home Interior

Small indoor adjustments help make interiors more comfortable and functional during the cold season.

  • Rearrange Furniture

    Avoid blocking heating vents with furniture, ensuring warm air can circulate freely. Keep thermostats unobstructed too. Close doors to unused rooms. Open curtains to absorb daylight warmth.

  • Update Bedding

    Use extra blankets and warm duvet inserts. Choose thermal curtains or blackout shades to trap heat. Cozy bedroom slippers and robes add warmth when rising from bed. A humidifier prevents dry indoor air.

  • Set Smart Thermostats

    Install programmable or WiFi connected thermostats. Setting the temperature lower when away saves energy. You can then conveniently raise the temperature when heading home.

Preparedness is key to keeping Connecticut families safe, warm and comfortable all winter long. Following this comprehensive checklist to winterize your home inside and out, upgrade insulation, maintain systems, stock supplies and plan for contingencies ensures your home is fully winter-ready. With your property protected and interior cozy, you can relax and enjoy the beauty of a Connecticut winter.


Should I completely turn off my heat when away in winter?2023-09-06T15:50:37+00:00

Don’t turn your heat fully off in winter since freezing pipes can burst. Set the temperature to around 55°F to prevent damage while saving energy.

How often should I change my HVAC air filter in winter?2023-09-06T15:50:18+00:00

Change air filters monthly during heavy winter usage. Clogged filters make systems work harder. Choose pleated filters for cleaner winter air quality. Proper sizing is key.

How can I prepare my landscaping for winter?2023-09-06T15:50:05+00:00

Winter prep includes pruning trees/bushes, planting cold-hardy plants, applying winter mulch, disconnecting hoses, draining irrigation, and bringing potted plants and delicate furniture indoors or under cover.

Which areas of my home should I caulk and weatherstrip?2023-09-06T15:49:44+00:00

Prioritize doors, windows, attic hatches, electrical outlets, dryer vents, pipes, wiring holes, and exterior joints/cracks where siding materials meet. Use high quality caulk then paint over if needed.

Should I insulate my attic floor or attic roof?2023-09-06T15:49:32+00:00

Insulating attic floors is best to prevent heat loss through the ceilings below. Lay batts between joists or blow in loose fill cellulose. Roof insulation is less common but also effective.

How do I stop ice dams on my roof?2023-09-06T15:49:18+00:00

Prevent ice dams by keeping gutters clean, removing overhanging branches, and installing gutter guards or heat cables along vulnerable roof edges. Ice dams should be removed professionally.

What temperature should I keep my Connecticut home in winter?2023-09-06T15:49:08+00:00

The Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 68°F while home in winter to balance comfort and energy efficiency. Lower to around 55°F when away or sleeping.

Will painting my house exterior in fall cause issues?2023-08-21T16:42:29+00:00

Will painting my house exterior in fall cause issues?
Fall provides ideal conditions for exterior paint with lower humidity, cooler temperatures, and less rain providing proper curing and less chance of blistering. Prepare surfaces thoroughly and use top-quality paints.

What home maintenance should I do before winter arrives?2023-08-21T16:42:12+00:00

Inspect gutters, downspouts, and roofing. Seal driveways and exterior wood surfaces. Insulate pipes, attics, and walls. Install storm windows. Trim trees away from home. Test HVAC systems. Perform chimney cleaning.

What are the best months for home improvements in Connecticut?2023-08-21T16:41:53+00:00

Late summer through fall provides ideal weather conditions for most home improvement projects in Connecticut. September and October see moderate temperatures, less humidity, and lower rainfall before winter arrives.

Can I close my pool for the winter myself, or do I need to hire a professional?2023-06-01T18:48:40+00:00

While you can certainly close your pool for the winter yourself, it’s a good idea to have a professional service it at least once a year to ensure that it’s in good working order. A professional can also perform any necessary repairs or upgrades to your pool’s equipment.

About the Author: David Perrotti

Dave has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, is a Bestselling Home Improvement Author on Amazon, and constantly seeks to reinvent the remodeling industry. As a veteran of the Army and Air Force, Dave operates his business, Fine Home Contracting, on the core army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.

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