How to Prepare for Your First Winter in Your New House

When you buy a new home for the first time you can be unprepared for the challenges that come with it. There are many things you just have to experience as no new home is the same. However there are a few tips I would like to share with you to help you get through your first winter in your new home safely and without incident. Here are some tips to prepare your new home for winter:

1.Seal Doors and Windows – A big obstacle to consistent heating throughout your home are cracks in doors and windows. Around the edges of windows and along the edges of doors cracks can form. These spaces allow cold air in and warm air out as well as bugs and weather. It is easy to seal up doors through many methods but one short term solution is a blanket or rug tucked up against the base of the door. Around windows you should seal cracks with caulking or other methods. Double paned windows are more energy efficient, but even a blanket hung across an expanse of windows can help to keep the air from chilling in that area.

2.Curtains – Speaking of windows, thick curtains really do help to keep your home warm in winter. Although they are more usually thought of for aesthetic reasons, thick curtains can help to block the cold in winter and the heat of the sun in summer. Open the curtains during sunny days to bring in the heat and close the curtains during the night or overcast days to keep your home warm.

3.Wrap Pipes –A common accident that occurs in winter is frozen pipes. Water freezing in pipes can cause many issues. Broken pipes, leaky faucets and water damage are the most common. If a pipe breaks due to freezing, you will know about it the minute it defrosts! Wrap your pipes to keep them from freezing. You can also keep them running lightly to prevent freezing for the short term but this wastes a lot of water. The outside faucets and even those in areas like garages or other non-climate controlled locations need to be wrapped. 

4.Prepare Plants – Before winter’s snows come along, or just winter storms, make sure any branches near your home are trimmed away. No tree branches should be over your roof, near your windows or over your car port. Keep bushes trimmed far away from windows or walls as they can cause damage as well. Some plants need to be trimmed harshly before winter so that dead limbs, dead leaves and so on do not end up harming the plants or your possessions. It is best to do so before it gets too cold or the plants can go into shock.

5.Cover Plants – For those plants that will survive the winter, make sure you cover them during freezing temperatures. While some plants can endure harsher cold than others, like evergreens, most plants need to be covered during cold snaps to survive. A sheet or blanket works well for this. However keep in mind that ice or snow build up on the sheets could harm the plant by sheer weight. Covers also can block the little sunlight there is over time, so do not cover your plants continually for more than two days.

6.Prepare for Pests –Although bugs seem prolific in the summer time they come indoor even more in the winter. Bugs, mice and other pests can come in through even small crack to get warm. Once they are in your home they are hard to get rid of. Be proactive and seal any cracks before the winter comes. You may also want to spray your home with pesticides or set out traps in case a few pests do appear. Keep all food products tightly sealed to prevent attracting pests into your home. This includes pet food, bird seed and the like!

7.Window Units – Many home owners invest in window units for cooling during the heat of summer. However when winter comes these units become a problem. There are two solutions. The most obvious solution is to remove the window units and store them, upright, somewhere safe. Make sure the storage is dry and free of pests and freezing temperatures. The second option is to leave them intact and cover them. Covering the units with a blanket on the inside of the home can prevent cold air from coming through. On the outside the units should be kept free of snow build up and perhaps even covered to prevent damage from very low temperatures.

8.Change Filters – If you have central heating and air conditioning it is usually a good idea to change your filters before you turn on the heat for the first time. The filter will be full of debris from running the air in the summer so that it is harder for your furnace to pull air through it. Dust and other allergens can also be stirred up by heat and a new filter can help to keep illness to a minimum.

9.Reverse Your Fans – Ceiling fans can help to keep you cool in the heat but they can also help to keep you warm in the winter. Remember that heat rises so much of the warm air will be up top first. Push it down with your ceiling fans to get the most out of your heat.

10.Switch Out Your Lawn Equipment – Put away the lawn mower and bring out the snow blower! Don’t wait until the first snow to get your equipment ready. Make sure you have gas for backup generators and heaters, your snow shovel is easy to get to in case of a sudden storm, and your pantry is well stocked with essentials. It pays to be prepared.

11. Water Heaters - Water heaters play a very important part in the winter. If you’re looking for a swift and efficient system that will deliver warm water into your home, then you’ll be wanting a best tankless water heater than going for a bulky storage water heater. 

As you can see none of these tasks are hard to do, they just do not occur to us sometimes. The first winter in your first home can be a fun time for you and your family. Take the proper precautions to prevent damage and enjoy the winter season warm and snug in your new home. 

About the author:

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

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