For homeowners, each season arrives with a list of things to do. Fall is no exception. In many regions, fall and winter mean wide temperature swings and snow, ice and rain. To protect your home, and possibly make it more energy-efficient, be sure to consider these tips:

Winterize your home's wooden components

Standing water from rain storms or snow will damage your property's wooden components. Dry rot, for example, is caused by a fungus that grows in wood that was damaged by water. Prevent damage by winterizing your home's wood.

Start by preparing of list of your home's wooden components. Include the deck, window trim, door trim, doors, fascia boards and railings. Walk around your home, making note of any areas that need winterization. Paint or stain any exposed or unprotected areas.

How to winterize your home's deck: Conduct a simple test to see if your deck needs to be treated. Sprinkle water in different areas and notice what happens. If the water forms a bead, your deck doesn't need to be sealed. However, if the water soaks into the boards, it's time to seal the deck. Be sure to replace any damaged boards before you proceed with sealing.

Winterize home windows

Carefully inspect the seams around your windows and door frames for gaps. Be sure to examine the seals around dryer vents and other holes in your home's exterior. Caulk to seal any gaps.

Caulk comes in a variety of colors such as clear, white, brown and black. Be sure to choose one designed for exterior use.

How to winterize home doors

At night, have someone shine a light around the perimeter of all exterior doors. Stand inside and make note of areas where the light is visible. Add weather stripping as needed to seal the gaps between the door and frame.


Install motion-sensing lights

Not only are motion-sensing lights recommended by experts to deter criminal activity, they light the way for your invited guests. As the winter days grow dark earlier than in the summer, your evening guests will be arriving after sunset. Show your guests safely to your door with motion-sensing lights positioned along the walkway, driveway and/or at your front door.

Since the lights only come on when they detect motion, they use less energy than a typical outdoor light. Another option would be to install photovoltaic lights that come on as the sun sets and turn themselves off at sunrise.

Winterize your home's gutters

After the leaves have fallen, it's time to winterize your home's gutters. Get your ladder and clear all the clutter from your gutters. Seal the seams if you notice any gaps. Be sure to check the downspouts. Water should flow freely. Test by spraying the roof with a garden hose and watch the runoff. Clear any blockage.

By performing a few simple home winterization tasks, you will protect your property, make it safe for your guests and possibly lower your energy bills. A weekend of preventative home winterizing maintenance in the fall will save you from expensive hassles next summer.

Caryn Colgan originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with permission here.

Your autumn home winterization to-do list
For homeowners, each season arrives with a list of things to do. Fall is no exception. In many regions, fall and winter mean wide temperature swings and snow, i