Is your house ready for winter?

In previous years, when summer bled into fall, the only thing on my mind was what I should be for Halloween and if it was too early to start socking away Christmas gifts. In this first year in Maine, however, it feels as though WINTER IS COMING and that my husband and I should plan accordingly.

But what, exactly, should we be doing to plan for it other than stacking up loads of firewood? According to several organizations (including the Department of Energy, FEMA, and the Department of Homeland Security) and several folks at the local brewery, here are 6 methods for prepping your home against winter’s imminent onslaught.

1. Clean out the gutters

While the weather is still nice, get outside and remove the leaves and other debris from your gutters. This will ensure that water can flow freely through gutters and be less likely to freeze and form ice dams.


2. Check and/or install fire and carbon monoxide alarms

It’s important to have working fire and carbon monoxide alarms, especially if you use a fireplace or stove to heat your home or if you have to switch over to a generator during a snowstorm. Did you know that the Red Cross of Maine actually installs free fire alarms? Check out to request free fire alarms and installation for your home.


3. Keep warm air from escaping outside

Even if you only have a few dollars to commit to this task, you can still end up saving money over the winter. Start small and caulk or use weather stripping to seal cracks around windows and doors. Here are some DIY tips on sealing your home.

Have a little more money to spend? Add more insulation to your attic! You can do this yourself or connect with one of the many services in the area to add insulation for you.


4. Ensure your heating source(s) are ready for use

Perhaps consider getting a newer stove than this one…

Whether you’re using a furnace, a fireplace, a woodstove, or some other source of heat, make sure it is functional and safe by having it inspected and/or cleaned by a professional. There’s nothing worse than starting a fire only to fill the house with smoke because the chimney wasn’t properly cleaned!


5. Have a back up plan for heat

Using wood for heat warms your twice, right?

If your primary source of heat uses electricity, have a backup source of heat (i.e, using a generator to power heat or switching over to a woodstove) and make sure it’s ready for use before you need it.


6. Keep water on hand

I would never have thought that his might be an issue since I’ve never lived in a home with an electric pump. If your home requires electricity to pull water from its source and send it through your pipes, then you’ll need to have a plan for when the electricity goes out in the winter. Don’t wait until you lose electricity to figure out what your plan is. Instead, consider a backup source of electricity to keep water on hand during the winter.

Jennifer Jelliff-Russell

About Jennifer Jelliff-Russell

Jennifer is an employment specialist and writer with novels in women’s fiction and science fiction. She and her husband, Jason, decided to move from Tennessee to Maine and homestead using the most environmentally sound farming practices possible such as organic farming and permaculture. At the same time, they will also be slowly renovating their 1900s Maine farmhouse in order to make it more self-sufficient with the eventual goal of going off grid. Let the homesteading (mis)adventures begin!