• Check your heating system. Make sure your heat source is in solid working condition now so you don’t struggle to stay warm when the cold weather hits. 

  • Reduce the risk of chimney fires by cleaning out fireplaces and wood stoves before you use them this year. If it’s been a long time since you fired yours up, have your chimney inspected and cleaned by professionals to ensure your safety. 

  • Reverse your ceiling fans. Your ceiling fans should turn counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. When they rotate in a clockwise motion, cold air will be pulled up to the top of the room and warm air will be drawn downward. Your home will stay warmer this winter, and you’ll save money on energy bills. 

  • Inspect your roof. Check for existing leaks, and make sure your roof can handle the weight of accumulating snow. Keep in mind that when a layer of ice or snow builds up on your roof, radiant heat from your home can melt it, along with direct sunlight and warming temperatures outside. The resulting water will run into your gutters, where it can refreeze, build up and block fresh melting water from running off your roof. This can cause future leaks and even affect the structural integrity of your roof altogether. If you don’t take care of roof issues in advance of a storm, you’ll face more extensive damages and repairs later on. 

  • Clean your gutters before freezing temperatures hit to prevent clogs and ice dams from forming, which can put your home at risk for severe damage. While you’re at it, check that the water flows down and away from your home so standing water doesn’t create a slipping hazard or cause foundational problems. 

  • Check for air leaks. If you have any air leaks in your walls, windows or doors, the warm air you’re using to heat up your home will quickly escape, making your system work harder and costing you more money in bills. If you notice any air leaks, use caulk, foam and weatherstripping to secure your home. 

  • Insulate your pipes. If you live in freezing climates, it’s important to ensure your pipes don’t freeze and subsequently burst, causing severe water damage. Read our post on how to prevent and fix frozen pipes. 

  • Buy new or replacement winter essentials. Don’t wait until the last minute to grab your cold-weather gear and equipment, including salt to melt ice or snow shovels to tackle your front walk. You should have all your snow gear on hand so you can take care of a slippery situation as soon as it hits and don’t get stuck in your home.