Winterize a home by preparing for freezing temperatures and sealing off any air leaks. Prepare the furnace for the season by having it professionally serviced, changing filters and cleaning the vents. Have any alternative heat sources checked to ensure they are operating safely.
Freezing water expands and causes pipes to burst, so insulate any exposed pipes to prevent damage.
Freezing also damages roofing. Clean the roof of any accumulations that could prevent water from draining correctly. If there are loose or missing shingles, replace them before the roof becomes too slick for working safely. Trim any overhanging branches that might drag on the roof with the weight of ice and cause damage.
Drafts allow the cold from the outside to infiltrate a house. Locate drafts by wetting a finger and holding it near areas of suspected air leaks. Another alternative is to shine a bright flashlight on one side of the suspected leak and look for light on the other side. Use weather stripping or caulking to seal the leak. If the home does not have adequate insulation, add more before the cold weather arrives.
Fireplaces can help to make the cold and wet weather more bearable. However, they require inspection before use. If there is a buildup of creosote in the flue, have a chimney sweep clean it to reduce the risk of fire.