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Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather

Prepare for extremely cold weather every winter—it’s always a possibility. There are steps you can take in advance for greater wintertime safety in your home.

Take Action
	Be Ready! Winter Weather Infographic
  • Listen to weather forecasts.
  • Have your chimney or flue inspected each year.
  • Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector. Test the batteries each month and replace them twice a year.
  • For older adults, keep an easy-to-read thermometer inside your home.
  • Weatherproof your home.
  • Bring your pets indoors during the winter.

	Front of Home After Snowfall

  • Listen to weather forecasts regularly and check your emergency supplies whenever a period of extreme cold is predicted. Although periods of extreme cold cannot always be predicted far in advance, weather forecasts can sometimes provide you with several days notice.
  • If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one online.
  • If you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside. Each winter season have your furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure they are functioning properly.
  • If you are over 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently. Your ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older adults are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. Check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.
  • Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze. To the extent possible, weatherproof your home by adding weather-stripping, insulation, insulated doors, and storm windows or thermal-pane windows.
  • If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.


  • Insulate walls and attic.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
  • Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls. This will make water less likely to freeze.
  • Service snow-removal equipment.
  • Have chimney and flue inspected.
  • Install easy-to-read outdoor thermometer.
  • Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structure during a storm.