Preparing your house and apartment for fall and winter

Preparing your house and apartment for fall and winter

As the warm summer weather starts to cool many home owners and apartment renters will be thinking about how to prepare their spaces to withstand winter. There are several important things that can be done to get homes and apartments ready for the colder seasons.

While snow may still seem like a long way off, it is best to start planning earlier rather than leave it too late.

Here are some of the fundamental things that home owners and renters need to do in order to ensure their houses are ready for the cold weather.

Exterior of houses

Clear out the gutters by removing any leaves and debris that has been gathering over the summer. This will prevent clogging in the drainpipe, which can lead to bigger problems.

Examine windows and doors to see if there are any cracks that need to be sealed up to keep the home warm and to save on energy bills. Don’t forget to inspect any weather stripping to see if there are any wears or cracks.

Autumn is also a crucial time to discover and fix any roofing problems before they get out of control.

It is also a good idea to examine sidewalks, steps and driveways for any cracks or damages that could get worse in winter weather. Home owners may also want to consider floodlights to prevent dangerous situations in the darker winter weather.

Prep your pipes and prevent them from bursting by ensuring they are freeze-proof. There are a variety of options from a special tubing to tape that you can apply to keep them safe. Don’t forget to turn off the outdoor water. It’s also a good time to direct drainage away from your home. Make sure that any water is directed at least five or six feet away from your foundation.

Interior of houses

One of the most important features of a home, particular in winter, is the fireplace. It is important to have it cleaned out and ready for use when it gets cold. While home owners are capable of clearing out the fireplace itself, a chimney should be cleaned by a professional.

Prepare your home’s heating system by checking vents, cleaning filters and having an annual inspection of the system.

It is also a good time to have the water heater checked and even cleaned to ensure proper functioning.

As the weather cools it is also a good time to install storm windows and doors. Putting these on a home will secure the warmth for the winter and can also save on energy costs. Take care to also inspect around the chimney, walls, vents and skylights for any small openings that could allow water or cold air to get in. You may also want to consider insulation for walls and attics to keep the warm air in and cold air out.

Those with an older thermostat may want to consider saving on heating costs by installing a more modern, programmable one.

Exposed pipes should also be protected by wrapping tubular insulation sleeves around them. These include ones in the attic, basement or cabinet.

Apartments and smaller spaces

Renter can keep out unwanted visitors like rats out by looking for openings they can get through and sealing it up. Even if the hole seems too small for a rodent to crawl through seal it up as they can get through even the tiniest of spaces.

If you have ceiling fans in your unit put them on reverse as this causes them to draw up cold air and push down the warm air.

It’s also important to locate your heating vents and ensure they are not blocked. Often, this is something that gets neglected if renters have moved in over the warmer months.

Some experts have suggested apartment dwellers allow water to trickle out of facets when it gets below 10 degrees Celsius to prevent burst pipes.

Open up the cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate and keep the pipes from snapping in colder weather.

If your suite has a radiator you’ll want to check for any leaks or steam around the relief valves that could mean it is in need of repair. Let your landlord know immediately if you notice anything wrong.

Often overlooked, electrical outlets can allow cold air inside. You may want to consider getting a cover for those you don’t use often or install foam insulation around the outlets.


Investing a little now to prepare your home or apartment for colder weather will be something you and your family will appreciate in the long run. By taking some time to examine your space and seal it up you’ll be able to enjoy being at home this winter.