Slip on your coat, lace up your boots, and pull on your woolly knit cap. Even in the midst of winter’s cold, there are some outdoor maintenance chores you just can’t ignore if you want to be sure your home sees you safely and comfortably through to the spring. Here is a checklist of outdoor maintenance items that should be the focus of your winter season.

Near the House

  • Check all outdoor spigots and be sure hoses have been disconnected and stored. Insulate any exposed pipes and monitor for leaks periodically during the season. Read our blog on winterizing your pipes for more information.
  • Lubricate garage doors and check the door alignment. If your garage is attached to the house, keep the door closed unless entering or exiting; small wild animals have been known to seek winter shelter in open garages. For more tips, check out our blog on garage door maintenance.
  • Monitor the driveway, foundation, and patio for cracks.
  • Watch out for ice dams near gutter downspouts; if the gutter is being blocked, call a professional in to remove the ice and clean out any debris. Follow the tips on our blog about ice dams to prevent them from building up in the first place.

Around the Yard

  • Maintain steps and handrails and keep them clear of ice and snow to ensure the safety of your family and holiday visitors.
  • Continuously remove ice and snow buildup from your house number, and keep the driveway clear. In case of emergency, responders have to be able to quickly identify and access your residence from the street.
  • Check for leaning trees near your home, and watch for ice formation on limbs; the excess weight could cause weak limbs to fall and potentially damage property or harm a passerby. Read our blog on winter tree safety tips to keep your trees in prime condition all winter.
  • Inspect fences and replace loose or rotten boards and any gate hardware that is rusty or damaged.
  • Check anchoring cables and electrical cords on all outdoor holiday displays to make sure they are secure and show no signs of fraying or wear. Periodically check holiday decorations to make sure they are not blocking or leaning over any walkways or sidewalks.
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Sources: AARP; Clemson University; FEMA; Howard University; Insurance Information Institute;; State Farm Insurance; University of Illinois; USAA Educational Foundation; US Consumer Product Safety Commission;

For more information on our sources, please contact us directly.