Winter is on its way, and as the temperatures drop, it’s important for you to prepare your home. Frozen pipes, high energy bills, and roof damage are just some of the risks of poor winter maintenance. However, you can take steps to avoid these issues.

While your specific home prep schedule will depend on your local climate, the following are some basic steps to get you started. Just remember to start early enough in the fall, giving yourself several weeks to make these upgrades before the snow accumulates.

Check your heating system

A quality heating system will keep your family comfortable throughout the season. However, it’s important to test the unit before you start relying on the heat. Otherwise, you could run into issues and experience a cold-weather emergency. Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your heating system and give it a routine tuneup. They can also make repairs if necessary. If you rely on residential solar panels to heat your home, be sure to replace the heating liquid and inspect your backup system.

Clean your gutters

Leaves and other debris likely collected in your gutters during the fall, so it’s essential to clear out your gutters before winter arrives. Otherwise, melting snow on your roof will not be able to drain. This could cause water to pool around your foundation, ultimately leading to a flood. The water could also cause the gutters to sag and break. If you aren’t comfortable standing on a ladder to clear out the gutters yourself, be sure to hire a professional.

Seal windows and doors

Even with an efficient heating system, drafty windows and doors can cause your energy bills to spike. Take time to seal the cracks in your windows by caulking, installing a storm window, or taping plastic. You should also switch out screen doors for storm doors if you have not already. Place door stops to cover the bottom of your doors, keeping the cold air out.

Get the plumbing ready

Frozen pipes are one of the top concerns for homeowners during the winter. A frozen pipe can burst during cold days and lead to major flooding. Fortunately, you can take steps in the fall to prevent this issue. First, you should drain all of your exterior hoses and sprinklers, storing them for the season. You can then identify which pipes might be at risk for freezing. Pipes in non-insulated walls or fixtures that reach the exterior could be of particular concern. Wrap these pipes in protective foam or take to prevent a freeze this season.

Schedule a roofing inspection

Snow and ice can sit heavy on your roof this winter, so you want to make sure that the roof can withstand the elements. Hire a roofing professional to check for cracks, missing shingles, and other issues. Keep in mind that roofing companies will base their inspection on your climate. For example, roofing companies in raleigh nc will ensure that your roof’s slope and gutters can properly drain winter rains. However, companies in Portland ME will ensure that your roof is strong enough for snow and ice. No matter where you are located, avoid waiting until spring for a roofing inspection.

By checking off items on your maintenance checklist during the late fall, you can ensure that your home is in top condition for winter. Overall, your heating system, roof, gutters, windows, doors, and plumbing are some of the more essential areas to inspect, as these features will protect your family from the elements. When the snow, freezing rain, and cold wind arrives, you can enjoy the warm interior without worrying about damage to your house.

se features will protect your family from the elements. When the snow, freezing rain, and cold wind arrives, you can enjoy the warm interior without worrying about damage to your house.