Preparing Your Home for the Winter

Posted on February 15, 2012

Use this Seasons Home Watch checklist to help you prepare your home before you leave for the winter. Every home is different, so be sure to personalize it for your circumstances.


  • Check your homeowner's insurance policy to make sure you have adequate coverage while you're away.
  • Notify the police and your security monitoring service that you'll be gone. Be sure to provide emergency contact and key holder information.
  • Place a hold on newspaper subscriptions, cable, and other services. If your security system uses the phone line, do not cancel your phone service.
  • Place a hold on the mail or have it forwarded to your winter address.
  • Ask someone to check your home, inside and out, to identify potential problems as early as possible.


  • Cover the furniture with sheets.
  • Clean the house thoroughly and throw away perishable food.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer and turn off the icemaker. If there is a power outage, or the fridge malfunctions, the ice may melt all over your kitchen.
  • Close and lock doors and windows. Draw shades and blinds.
  • Set some lights on timers to give your home a lived-in feel.
  • Unplug any electronics and appliances that will not be used.
  • Cover all toilet bowls with plastic wrap.
  • Empty trash and recycling, both inside and outside.
  • If you're leaving the heat on, set the thermostat to the manufacturer's recommended temperature for an unoccupied home. If you turn the heat off, have a plumber drain the water lines. Many homes and appliances are not made for below-zero conditions.
  • Lower the temperature on the hot-water heater.
  • Check security systems and sump pumps to make sure the batteries are in good condition.
  • Turn off the fireplace gas.
  • Close the damper to the fireplace and cap the chimney so no animals can get into your home.
  • Guard against rodents and pests. If you set any traps, ask someone to check them periodically and dispose of any filled traps.
  • Turn off the water main at the source. Take this extra precaution to avoid serious water problems.


  • Rake your yard in the fall. Clean gutters and roof debris.
  • Trim shrubs. Remove tree limbs and branches that hang over the house.
  • Cover any frost-intolerant plants.
  • Store all patio furniture, hammocks, chairs, and garden ornaments.
  • Seal any cracks in the eaves, siding, and foundation. Seal any spaces around pipes that penetrate the exterior.
  • Arrange for snow removal. This gives your home a lived-in feel and allows for access in an emergency.
  • If there is a fire hydrant on your property, arrange to have it periodically cleared of snow. Mark it so it's easy to locate after a snowfall.
  • Drain water from hoses, irrigation system, spas, and swimming pools. Some systems and pools may need professional winterization.
  • Unplug the garage door opener. Some garage doors can open accidentally.
  • Make sure the septic system is working. Mark the tank covers and well with yard posts or flags before the first snow.
  • Remove docks and lifts from the water. Remove slip covers from permanent docks. Winterize and store boats and other recreational vehicles.

Hire a professional home watch service.

When you're away from home for an extended period of time in the winter, consider hiring Seasons Home Watch. That way, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing that insured, bonded professionals are caring for your home.

Schedule a complimentary in-home consultation today.

Email us at or give us a call at 612-220-5934.