You may be ready for cozy winter nights by the fire, but your home might need some help preparing for the cold months ahead. From frozen pipes to leaky roofs, frosty weather can take a toll across your home — but with the proper preparation, you can avoid common winter pitfalls.
Cross these items off your list to help keep your home in peak condition for the brisk months ahead.
Protect Your Pipes
Before those bitterly cold temperatures strike, you should take a few steps to help ensure your pipes aren’t at risk of bursting. The American Red Cross recommends that you:
For extra peace of mind during the winter, you can connect Flood & Freeze Sensors to your Ring Alarm security system and place them under pipes. With a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately, you’ll get a notification on the Ring App when a sensor detects leaking water or temperatures under 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can take extra precautions to prevent damage.1
Seal Windows and Doors
According to the Department of Energy, too much cold air can enter your home in the winter if there are cracks or openings to the outside, creating uncomfortable drafts and cold spots. To prevent heat loss, you can:
Add weatherstripping and caulk to leaky windows and doors.
Place foam sealant into larger gaps in areas that may leak air, like around windows and baseboards.
Add pliable gaskets under exterior doors and on thresholds.
Hire an expert to test for air leaks if you’re unsure what might create a draft.
Schedule a Chimney Inspection
If you’re looking forward to cozying up by the fire this winter, the National Fire Protection Association suggests scheduling a chimney sweep and inspection. Your inspector will clean out any creosote buildup to help prevent a chimney fire and look for other potential hazards that could cause damage to your home.
Clean Gutters and Check Your Roof
Whether your area experienced a few summer storms or weeks of wet weather, there’s a good chance your gutters are full of debris. And according to the Department of Energy, that buildup can block drainage, create ice dams in the winter, and potentially lead to water seepage into your home. To prevent winter water issues, you should clean out your gutters and drains now and check to ensure water flows out smoothly. The CDC also suggests repairing roof leaks before cold weather strikes to help winterize your home.
Cut Overgrown Tree Branches
Snow-filled trees can make your neighborhood look like a winter wonderland, but they can also pose a threat to buildings. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends cutting away tree branches that could get weighed down and fall on your home, garage, shed, or other structures during a winter storm.
Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Turning on the furnace and burning a crackling fire can help keep you warm and cozy when temperatures drop. But the CDC warns that running heating equipment can also increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. The risk of home fires also increases in December and January, according to the American Red Cross. That’s why you should test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace the batteries if they’re low or dead.
With a compatible smoke and CO detector or a Smoke and CO Listener connected to your Ring Alarm, and a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately, you can be alerted to a potential fire or carbon monoxide event whether you’re home or away.1 Compatible detectors will immediately trigger the Alarm when they go off, and Smoke and CO Listeners can detect a siren and trigger the Alarm when placed within six inches of your existing detectors. With a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately, you’ll also receive a notification on your Ring App.1
If you enroll in 24/7 Alarm Professional Monitoring with a Ring Protect Pro subscription, sold separately, the professional monitoring company can request a fire response on your behalf.1 2 For smoke alarms, your first emergency contact will receive a call, and authorities will be alerted if they confirm the emergency or can’t answer. Because a quick response can be crucial when carbon monoxide is detected, the professional monitoring company will automatically request assistance when a CO detector is triggered.2
Put Outdoor Items in Storage
Now that the season of barbecues and al fresco dinners is over, it’s time to store your grill, lawn mower, and patio furniture until next year. Put your summer items in a clean, dry storage space to shield them from the elements. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, if you plan to store a gas grill indoors, you should always remove the propane cylinder and store it upright outdoors.
When it comes to winterizing your lawn mower, the USDA recommends draining gas from the gas tank or adding a stabilizer. Check the spark plug and take it in for maintenance — or replace it altogether — if the tip looks discolored. Finally, clean or replace the air filter, so your mower is ready for next spring.
Whether you’re planning a winter road trip or hunkering down at home, outdoor security cameras from Ring can help you monitor your stored items in the winter. You’ll get a notification if your camera detects motion, and you can check Live View on the Ring App to see what’s causing the activity around your shed or garage, from a winter storm to an animal looking for a hibernation spot.
Switch to a Smart Thermostat
Keeping your furnace running around the clock can help you stay cozy and warm this winter, but it can also use unnecessary energy and raise your heating bills. The Department of Energy explains that adjusting your thermostat when you’re asleep or away can save you as much as 10% on your energy bills. Smart thermostats, which are controllable from your phone, can adjust the temperature during the day based on your routine to save energy automatically.
With Ring-compatible smart thermostats, you can set and automate the temperature from the Ring App while you check in on camera feeds or Alarm notifications.2 And if you’re still a little too cold while bundled up on the couch, you can ask Alexa to turn the thermostat up without leaving your cocoon.
Install a Ring Alarm
While you gather for holiday dinners or head out for your little one’s winter dance recital, Ring Alarm can help give you peace of mind that your home is protected. Contact Sensors and Motion Detectors detect when doors or windows are open, or there’s activity in your home. For extra protection, you can connect Alarm Accessories to detect broken glass, freezing temperatures, running water, and sirens from smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. And with a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately, you’ll get real-time notifications on your phone when your Alarm is triggered to keep you in the know from anywhere.
1 Ring Alarm and all Ring Alarm accessories require a subscription for in-app features and digital notifications, including digital arming / disarming and integration with other Ring, Echo, Alexa, and third party products. Subscription sold separately. View ring.com/protect-plans for pricing and details.
2 A compatible Ring Protect subscription is required to enroll in the Ring Alarm professional monitoring service. Professional monitoring service is available only within the U.S. (all 50 states, but not U.S. territories) and in Canada (excluding Quebec). Ring does not own its own professional monitoring center. Smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring is not available for a business or commercially zoned address. See Ring alarm licenses at: ring.com/licenses. Additional permit or false alarm fees may apply depending on your local jurisdiction. Additional charges may apply in areas that require permits or guard response service for alarm verification.