Winter is coming!  That means cold weather, shorter days, and the potential for plenty of snow fall. Before there’s lots of white stuff flying around, there’s a few things you should do in order to get your house ready for the cooler season. Read on to see how you can get your home ready for winter.



Clean Out Gutters

Avoid any potential drainage problems in winter by cleaning out your gutters before the first storms hit.  Any leaves or debris left in there from the previous seasons can clog your gutters - and that can lead to siding damage, basement floods, and corrosion.



Seal Your Windows

Any drafty windows are going to let cold air into your home, and drive up your heating costs.  But it’s quite simple to seal them up when prepping your house for winter.  Caulk any cracks around the window where air can escape.  Once it’s dry, cover your windows with a thin plastic film (available at any hardware store), and secure it with waterproof double-sided tape.  Use a hair dryer to heat the edges as you press the protective layer into place.  This will keep heat in, and energy costs low, through the winter months.



Prep Your Pipes

One frozen pipe can cause major damage if it bursts, so it’s important to insulate them for the winter.  Pick up some tubular pipe insulation sleeves from your local hardware store and cover any exposed pipes in unheated areas, like your basement, attic, or crawl space.  Cover all exposed parts and seal the seams with duct tape.  With this simple task you’re stopping potential water damage, and conserving energy.



Check your Furnace

When getting your home ready for winter, the last thing you want to forget about is heating maintenance.  Ensure your heating system is in good working order before you turn it on by having a professional check your furnace, venting system, and chimney to make sure that everything is ready when the cold weather hits.  This is also a good time to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.



Take Stock of Outdoor Supplies

Don’t wait for the first storm to pick up supplies.  Instead, take stock of your salt, sand, and shovels now, to be sure that you’ve got plenty on hand for that first big snow fall.  That way you can rest easy - without fighting the crowds - when you get a big dose of the white stuff.  This is also a good time to organize and store summer gardening tools.



Invest in a Humidifier

Heated indoor air can be very drying when it comes to your hair and skin, as well as increase your chances of picking up a cold.  A good humidifier can counteract some of the dryness caused by indoor heating, and can be purchased for a single room, or to add moisture to an entire home.  Keep in mind that you’ll need to clean your humidifier regularly in order to protect against mold and mildew.



Let There Be Light

While you unfortunately can’t do anything about those short winter days, you can do your best to ensure your home is merry and bright during the long, dark nights.  Add some extra lamps to rooms where you rely on natural light in the summer months so those spaces can keep their shine.  You can also check the quality of light by taking a look at the bulbs you’re using in your current fixtures.  Those with a high color-rendering index will give you the truest light.



Stock Up For a Storm

If you live in a place where snow is inevitable, make sure you’re prepared for a potential storm.  Create a fully-stocked emergency kit with batteries, a flashlight, bottles of water, non-perishable food items, and anything else that you might need.  It’s a good idea to store at least three days’ worth of supplies for everyone in your household - don’t forget to stock up on extra pet food for your furry friends, too.