Winter is fast approaching, and for some of you it may feel like it has already arrived. The plunging temperatures, chilly winds, lack of sun and shorter days all just make you want to curl up under 7 blankets and call it a day right? Maybe relax by a warm fire with some hot chocolate? Yeah, us too. Well, as those bitter cold days loom over us, we need to be prepared for the long duration that is the winter season. It is super important to protect your home from the cold and against energy leaks; in doing so you are going to save yourself money and increase the comfort in your home as you ride out the cold. Below are some excellent suggestions for what you can do to prepare and winterize your home.

Seal your windows

This should be one of, if not the first thing you do. The minute you feel the cold coming on, or even before, just get it done and out of the way. If you want to make a good seal, first thing you should do is caulk your windows. You can buy temporary and permanent caulking (and really, permanent is a good choice, sealing windows helps in the summertime too). The next step here is covering the window in a thin plastic film (you can find this at any hardware store, of you can even just use saran wrap). Tape down the plastic and put a little heat on it to really seal it.

 Clean out your gutters

We’re amidst the changing of seasons, and that means those leaves are falling, and they’re clogging up your rain gutters. There is likely some other gunk and debris up there, and it needs to be removed. The winter snow and rains need somewhere to drain as they fall onto your house; if the gutters are clogged there is nowhere for the water to go, and you run the risk of it freezing in the gutter. Ice dams can come from this, and that can lead to water leaks in your home and other damage. Just simply take a spatula, or some other kind of scraping tool, and remove the leaves and debris. Then give a quick rinse with your garden hose.

Insulate your home

This is one of the key factors to cutting down your energy bill. You have insulation in the attic of your home, and by adding extra insulation to that you are helping your house hold in and maintain the warmth, thus using less energy. A home typically needs a solid 12 inches of insulation to have a big impact on holding in heat, so if it is not that thick add to it.

Pad your pipes

If you live somewhere that experiences deep freezes somewhat often, you are going to want to prevent your pipes from freezing as best as you can. If you do not, you run the risk of not only the inconvenience of not having running water, but your pipes are likely to burst if they are frozen. This causes a lot of damage and can run you a hefty bill to fix. Just get some tubular pipe insulation sleeves from any hardware store and apply them to all exposed pipes in your home. This includes all bends and joints in the pipes. To finish, just secure it with duct tape.

Make sure your heater is in good condition

Have a professional come to your home and check your heater to make sure it is actually ready for winter. If it is not in good shape, you need to know this before trying to turn it on. If you rent a home, your landlord is likely to send someone out without having to set an appointment up yourself. But be sure that your furnace, venting system, and chimney (if you have one) are all up to par and ready for use. And do not forget about your carbon monoxide detectors, this is the time they especially need to be working just in case your heater or furnace is overworking and emitting carbon monoxide through the home.

These steps are easy to take and can all be tackled rather quickly. So don’t put off making your home ready for the long winter ahead. You will thank yourself when your warmer and paying less to stay that way.