How to Safely Prepare Your Home for Winter

Written by | Updated December 10, 2015

If you live in a climate where the winter months are cold and snowy, then now is the time to start preparing your home for the season.

Along with making sure your home and your yard are ready for the pending freeze, you need to make sure you are doing everything right that you can to avoid a mishap.

Ladder Safety

Part of getting your home ready includes washing windows, cleaning gutters, and making sure there aren’t any holes in the roof that need patching. To do these things, you’ll be going to be up and down a ladder. Ladder safety is essential when you are making home repairs, no matter what time of year it is. One slight mishap and you’re head to the hospital with a broken leg – not to mention, a bruised ego. Follow these standard do’s and don’ts to make sure your time on a ladder is safe.



    • Let someone know you’re using a ladder. If you’re headed out to clean the gutters, make sure another member of the family knows you’re going to be up and down the ladder.


    • Use a safe and sturdy ladder, preferably one made of fiberglass. If you’re going to be moving the ladder around a lot, your muscles can become fatigued. In this case, try an aluminum ladder that is still sturdy, but not as heavy.


    • Use a ladder with a small shelf that can hold a bucket or small tools. This way, you won’t be holding things that can cause you to lose your balance.


  • Use a secure ladder for the size of your home: four-legged step ladder for a single-story home and an extension ladder for a two-story home.


    • Use a wooden or orchard ladder. These ladders become unbalanced easily.


  • Climb a ladder that has broken steps, is wobbly, or needs to be repaired.

It’s important to stay safe as you’re getting your home ready for the change in seasons and part of that comes in knowing the right way to store your seasonal items.

Crawl Space Storage

The crawl space is a great place to store seasonal items, like lawn furniture, tools, or yard equipment. The crawl space is different from an outdoor shed or a garage. Keep the crawl space vents open to allow warm, moist air to low naturally to a cooler, drier, outside environment. Make sure the vents aren’t closed. If they do get closed, you can trap moisture and other gases in your home. This can cause mold to grow inside, which can be very dangerous to breathe.


Storing in an Attic

The attic is also a good space for storing your seasonal items. Attics usually attract excessive heat, critters, and insects. Because most people don’t check their attic often, make sure you are only storing items that you need occasionally, and not on a regular basis. As you put things away in there, only carry items that are lightweight and won’t cause you to lose your balance. Remember, the attic is not an ideal place for wood patio furniture because of the humidity that forms there, which can cause wood to expand and warp.

Pay special attention to the attic floor or lack of floor. The lack of a floor in an attic is a big safety concern. Lay some plywood or Attic Dek flooring to make the floor more stable and secure.

Lawn Furniture Storage

One area that many people neglect is properly storing lawn furniture. Not only will your furniture last longer when it’s properly stored, but not securing yard items for the winter can also be a safety concern. Winds, snow storms, or freezing temperatures can all cause problems with outdoor furniture.


    • Stack chairs: This gives you more storage room, but also gives the chairs additional weight to stay put during a storm.


    • Use covers: Even if you’re moving furniture to a storage shed or a covered space, use covers. Be sure to tie any covers around tables or chairs securely.


    • Clean it up: Moisture and dirt can cause mold and mildew to grow during winter. Mold spreads quickly and can ruin your furniture.


  • Don’t let snow build up. If you aren’t moving your furniture to a covered space, be sure to clean snow off, especially after a big storm. Water can find its way to spaces and freeze in colder temperatures, causing damage.

Security Measures

If you have motion sensor lights on the outside of your home, make sure they are working properly and that nothing is blocking them from sensing any activity. Now is also the time to check the security of all your windows and doors and replace any locks necessary. If you don’t have a security system installed, SafeWise recommends getting one. If you get one installed before the holidays, you’ll be able to rest assured knowing you can leave your seasonal gifts at home and they’re being protected.

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Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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