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Homeowner Pre-Snow Checklist

Before the first snow falls, use this checklist to make sure your home is safe and warm.

Brick arts and crafts house in snowy landscape

Set up a Snow Removal Plan

Whether you are hiring someone else to remove snow from your walks and driveway or plan to do it yourself, here are the steps you should follow to ensure you are prepared:

Hiring a Contractor

Doing It Yourself

​Contact your landscaper or snowplow company as soon as possible to line them up.

Make sure your shovel is in good shape, and if not, purchase one now.

Make sure you have clear expectations outlined on both sides, such as whether the snow will be removed once it has finished falling or once during and again after the storm has passed.

Stock up on salt if you use it before it is sold out.

If you have a snowblower, make sure you have gas and oil on hand.

Get Your Roof Inspected

You can inspect your roof now if you know what to look for, but you may want to hire it out if you aren't sure, and it would be safer to let a professional do it. Taking this step now should allow you enough time to get any repairs done before snow arrives.

Have Your Chimney Inspected

Getting a chimney sweep onto your roof now will be far less challenging than when there is snow up there. In addition to helping prevent a chimney fire, an inspector can also help make sure you don't have any unwelcome guests who may use your flue to gain access to your warm house.

Clean Your Gutters

Snow on gutters weighed down by damp pine needles, leaves, pine cones, and sticks is a recipe for breaking gutters and damaged fascia boards. Get your gutters cleaned after most of the leaves have fallen from your trees so you can ride out the winter without damp basements or crawlspaces, and no need to call a repairman.

Get Your Trees Trimmed

Weak, dead, or diseased branches are more likely to fall with the added weight of snow and can damage your home. Worse yet, a falling branch could injure someone, like you! Hire an arborist to come take a look at your trees and have any worrisome branches removed.

Winterize Your Plants

If you have boxwood or other brittle branched plants that could break in heavy snow, wrap them in burlap or erect a protective barrier around them. Bring in any potted plants you want to re-awaken next Spring and make sure you have 3" of mulch covering the roots of your plants and trees so they have a protective barrier from the cold air (while holding in the natural warmth of the earth in).

Check Your Heating Sources

Get your furnace, heat pump, gas fireplace, and hot water heated inspected this month, and you can rest easy knowing you'll avoid losing your heat on a cold, snowy evening when finding a repair person would be next to impossible.

Take Care of Any Drafts

In addition to keeping your electric bill in check, taking care of drafty doors, windows, electrical outlets, and any other access points in your home (such as cables for TV or internet, and piping for water to your dishwasher and ice maker) will help keep you toasty as you watch the first snowfall while sipping your hot chocolate by the fire.

Stock Up on Supplies

Make sure you have these items on hand:

  • Bottled water

  • Blankets

  • Batteries

  • Flashlights

  • Rechargeable candles (real candles are a fire hazard)

  • Non-perishable food (such as hot chocolate noted above)

  • Power banks for your phones and tablets

  • An extra propane tank for your gas grill (so you can melt snow if needed for water, as well as cook)


Sources: Redfin, RealSimple



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