Many areas have already had a taste of fall weather, and it’s not far behind for most others. Now is the time to make sure your house and heating system are ready for winter. Here is a brief checklist to guide you through some basic tasks before it is too late:


  • Check window wells, dry wells and storm drains for debris or blockage.
  • Repair any driveway cracks and/or heaved or settled walkways.
  • Trim all trees and shrubs that are too close to the house.
  • Check (ideally during a rainstorm) for rainwater drainage away foundation.
  • Clean and put summer furnishings away.
  • Drain and store garden hoses.


  • Check weathertightness of all exterior surfaces and components.
  • Check for deterioration of painted or finished areas. If too late for a full paint job, prime and touch-up bare wood surfaces.
  • Caulk and seal all joints in siding, around windows and doors.
  • Check and seal any foundation cracks.
  • Improve weatherstripping at exterior doors and windows as needed.
  • Reset storms and screens where required.
  • Look for any signs of insect or pest activity around the foundation and at wood components close to the ground.

ROOF (Use binoculars or hire a professional.)

  • Check for loose, damaged or missing roofing.
  • Check eave areas for signs of moisture build-up or damage.
  • Check the condition of chimneys.
  • Check flashings for signs of lifting or damage and repair as needed.
  • Check and clean all gutters (eavestroughs) and downspouts.


  • Check ventilation openings for nests or other blockage.
  • Check the position and condition of insulation for uniform coverage.
  • Look for any signs of excessive moisture or heat buildup.


  • Check all areas for signs of roof or plumbing leakage.
  • Have any fireplaces or wood stoves and flues checked and professionally cleaned.
  • Reset automatic timers for the change in daylight hours.
  • Check all smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if over a year old.
  • Test Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupters (GFCI’s) using built-in test buttons.


  • Clean all elements of the cooling system.
  • Remove (or winterize) room air conditioners.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for the maintenance of your heating system.
  • Change or clean heating system filters on warm air systems (now and regularly).
  • Check heating and cooling systems for any evidence of water leaks.
  • If present, clean and test the humidifier.
  • Have your heating system serviced annually by a qualified heating serviceperson before the heating season to keep it functioning efficiently and properly.


  • Drain exterior water lines and open taps (in cold areas).
  • Insulate water lines that are subject to freezing.
  • Check the condition and temperature setting of the water heater. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the temperature setting.
  • Check the plumbing system and fixtures for any evidence of water leaks or blocked drains.
  • Confirm proper operation of any sump pumps and free flow of the drain line.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue.


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