As the cold temperatures of winter set in, your home is subject to different conditions that require some attention. Preparing your home for winter is an important process that homeowners should engage in every year. In this process, homeowners can take steps to reduce their home heating costs and to help them prevent any potential damage that the wintertime conditions could cause.

1. Check your furnace
Make sure that your furnace is in good working order before the cold temperatures set in. Check to make sure that the fans and the thermostat are in good working order. It is also recommended that you change the filter in the furnace at this time. To make sure that everything is in good shape before the cold sets in, it is recommended that you have your furnace inspected by a professional at the beginning of the usage season.

2. Winterize your windows
Adding an extra layer of protection to your windows can significantly reduce your heating costs. If you have storm windows, go around the house and put them in. If you do not have storm windows, you can buy a kit that will help you to winterize your windows. These kits basically allow you to shrink wrap your windows to add an extra layer of insulation to them.

3. Protect your pipes
In the wintertime, water can freeze inside a pipe and cause it to burst. To protect your pipes against this, go into areas like the basement, crawl space and attic and wrap the pipes in insulation.

4. Clean your gutters
Once all of the leaves have fallen from the trees, it is important to give your gutters one final yearly cleaning. This will ensure that they are clear and able to handle the water that will come from melting snow.

5. Check for leaks
Cold air can get into the house through a variety of channels. Check problem spots like windows, doors, light fixtures and electrical outlets to make sure that there is not draft coming through. Wet your finger and hold it close to any potential trouble spot and you should be able to feel if there is a leak.

6. Seal any leaks that you find
For lighting fixtures and electrical outlets, this could possibly be solved by adjusting how the item sits on the wall. For windows and doors you can apply caulk around the frame to reduce the amount of air that is coming in. If the windows and doors are especially old, it might be necessary for them to be replaced in order to eliminate the draft.

7. Don’t forget the chimney
If you use a fireplace to heat your home in the winter, it is important to have the fireplace and the chimney inspected and cleaned at the beginning of the usage season. A poorly maintained fireplace can be hazard.

8. Consider extra insulation
If you feel as though a lot of heat is escaping through your attic, consider adding additional insulation to the existing base. This will help to keep the heat in the areas of the home that you need to keep warm.

Preparing your home for the winter does take a little bit of time and effort, but it is a necessary job for any homeowner. A day spent winterizing your home will be well worth the time because it will help you to control your heating expenses and it will protect your property from potential damage.