How to Prepare Your Home for Winter


When buying a new home, it’s easy to get caught up in making the space feel like your own. But as a homeowner, especially in Upstate New York, you need to consider essential home maintenance tips for the winter. Whether you live in the Capital Region or Hudson Valley, preparing your home for snowy conditions is crucial to protecting your home, assets, and family.

Why prepare your home for winter?

Winter conditions can cause some of the most severe damage to your home when not cared for properly. Heavy snow, ice, sleet, and temperature drops can lead to strain on your roof and gutters, plumbing problems, flooding in the basement, cracks in the foundation, and even potential fires. Don’t let that scare you! With proper preparation, you can prevent future damage from happening. And we’re here to help!

Here are some of our crucial tips for preparing your home for the winter.

Clean your gutters

If your downspouts and gutters aren’t clear of debris, then your water has no place to go. This can cause large ice dams to form, leading to further damage down the line. We recommend clearing debris before the cold weather arrives, then keeping an eye on them as temperatures drop to ensure ice doesn’t form.

Install monitoring devices on your water pipes

Frozen pipes can be a major hazard to your home, and there are a few different devices you can use to help prevent it from happening. Some of these include low temperature monitors that will alert you if the home drops to a certain temperature. Additionally, automatic water shutoff valves will turn off your water as soon as it detects irregularities in water pressure.

Have your chimney cleaned

Winter conditions can lead to a high risk of house fires when not properly prepared. One of the top causes of winter fires is uncared for chimneys. When your fireplace is not cleaned for a long time, chimney fires can occur. This is why it’s so important to hire a chimney sweep this time of year.

Clean your dryer vents

Dryers and washing machines can also cause severe fires for homeowners. The buildup of lint and other materials can trigger fires because the unit cannot release heat properly. To prevent this from happening, make sure to clean your lint filter with each use and have your dryer vent professionally cleaned each year.

Prepare your home for storms and extreme cold

While a lot of winter home maintenance should be done ahead of time, there are plenty of things you can do throughout the season to keep your home safe, especially if a snowstorm or blizzard is coming. Here’s what you can do right before a storm comes through:

  • Stock up on non-perishable food and water

  • Have a supply of personal care products (including a first aid kit)

  • Get prepared for a power outage by stocking up on candles or a portable power station 

  • Have a battery-powered sump pump for your basement

  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Ensure you have a fire extinguisher 

  • Have a shovel and salt available for when it’s time to clear snow from your steps, walkway, and driveway

  • Check your windows and doors for drafts and caulk any holes you find

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure your vehicles are prepared too. While it’s best to avoid driving during a snowstorm, following safety precautions can help keep your family further protected.

Consult your insurance agency

Deferred maintenance can result in claims that might not have happened with more regular care. That’s why it’s always best to do your research and consult with your insurance agency (like us!). The advisors at MetzWood Insurance are ready to answer your questions and even find you a better homeowners insurance or secondary homeowners insurance policy for your specific needs. Start your proposal today to get started!


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