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When to winterize?

No matter which way you slice it, when to winterize is definitely an annual event leading up to the next winter. It seems crazy to start thinking about the coming winter months just after you've been through the most recent winter but it's true.

As the end of one winter season fades, you'll need to be thinking about the next winter already! Particularly if you plan on doing a big-ticket item like having a new roof put on or adding insulation to your house.

If it's been a harsh winter with heavy snow, high winds or excessive driving rain, you might notice that parts of your house have suffered in some way. It's only now that the problem has become apparent and needs to be fixed before next winter. This is often the case when house things need fixing. Here's a breakdown on how your year might be divided up into pre and post winter activities.

Pre-winter: Autumn or the Fall

That's a no brainer... when to winterize is definitely before the winter gets here! What I mean is that all your normal preparations must start in the fall, usually beginning in September and ending well before the first snowfall.

By inspecting all the annual things you need to during fall, and performing some basic maintenance and upkeep, you could also delay replacing that item until the next winter. Getting a bit more life out of a piece of equipment or article of clothing helps your budget - even if it's just a little.


Batter down the housing hatches and draw up the bridge but still get out and about and enjoy the winter! Over the course of the winter, you might find some new winter prevention things you need to do so make a list. Just remember to follow up once the warmer weather arrives. To me, there's definitely some post-winter wrap-up you need to do too. This takes place not long after the current winter winds down when the snow disappears and temperatures start to steadily rise.

If you are like me, I'm all for minimizing maintenance where I can. Taking care of any winter-related equipment or items that you have used during the winter so soon after the winter is probably a big pain...

But it's an even bigger pain the closer you get to the next winter season knowing that the task you should have done last spring, didn't get done. Arrrr! Whatever it is, it's still waiting for you... In my mind's eye, it becomes a bigger, more dreaded task now that I have to do it in fall - regardless.

Winter wrap up could include:

  • Cleaning, repairing and storing non-powered tools like snow shovels, snow scoops, ice picks - anything you've continuously used to keep the snow under control
  • Doing a maintenance check and draining gas or petrol out of the snow blower/thrower ready for storage over the summer
  • Same practice applies to snowmobiles or other powered vehicles that are stored over the summer
  • Storing sand, salt or ice melter in the shed/garage.

Post-winter: Spring to late Summer

This is the optimal time to do any kind of major winter house maintenance during this long stretch of good weather (mostly). I'm referring to large exterior house jobs such as:

  • Exterior painting
  • Repairing woodwork
  • Replacing or repairing windows
  • Fixing cracks in foundations or walls
  • Repairing or replacing walkways etc.
  • Replacing or reattaching guttering, siding or flashing
  • Re-pointing bricks and repairing mortar joints.

And that's just naming the more critical winter house maintenance items besides the multitude of other small tasks you may need to do as well.

Certainly all the large house-type repairs need to be done in the summer when the materials can dry, cure or set properly. Timing certainly plays an important part in when to winterize.

Next on your winter 'to do' list is What to winterize. This list can become pretty long ... especially if you are a home owner.

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