Temperatures are dropping which means our homes need a little extra maintenance over these next few months. With the cold weather here to stay, it’s essential to be proactive and protect your home against the snow this winter season. When it comes to winterizing your home, here’s a checklist of the things you should keep in mind:

Check your heating and air conditioning system

If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to switch your thermostat and set the temperature a little higher to bring on the heat. You’ll also want to make sure you cover and protect your AC unit to prevent damage from accumulated snow, ice or any outdoor debris.

Seal cracks in your windows and doors

Doing this will keep your home warm and use less energy this winter season. Start by inspecting all of your windows and doors for any gaps or cracks and apply caulking to patch them up.

Inspect your roof

There’s nothing worse than finding out you have a problem on your roof until after the snow hits. To avoid leaks or damage in the dead of the winter, check for any visible defects like cracked caulk, damaged and/or missing shingles or broken vent pipes.

Give your trees a trim

If you have trees that hang over your home or driveway, trimming some of those branches isn’t a bad idea. Overhanging branches can cause excess water to seep into the cracks of your roof and might even break off in the event of a rain or ice storm. To avoid a safety hazard, make sure any tree limbs or branches surrounding your home or vehicles are at least 3 ft. away from the house.

Clear out your gutters

Heading into the colder months, avoid expensive repairs and clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Clogged rain gutters, especially during the winter, can cause considerable damage to your home’s foundation. If they aren’t properly cleaned out, this can result in a build-up of water that can freeze, causing gutters and pipes to break.

Turn off exterior faucets

Before the ice and snow begin to build up, turn off all exterior faucets and drain the water from your outdoor pipes, valves and sprinklers. This will prevent pipe bursts and any water damage that could occur in the event of heavy snowfalls and/or ice storms.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Checking these devices is something you should be doing all year-round. However, during the winter, it’s even more important. Given that our homes experience a reduction in ventilation in colder climates, this could potentially lead to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. That said, you want to be sure to check the lifespan of your device, renew its battery and run a test. Typically, these detectors have a 10-year lifespan and may need to be reset throughout that timeframe.

Maintaining your home on a seasonal basis is a great way to be prepared if you plan or unexpectedly decide to put your home on the market. It ensures that everything’s in good order and condition and can save you time and money in the long run.