It’s that time of year: temperatures are dropping and days are getting shorter. Take a few steps now to get your home ready for winter. You’ll be sitting pretty in the chillier days ahead.

Show some love for your heating system

Ideally, you want to find and fix any issues with your heating system before the coldest day of the year. Now is a good time to call a professional to check in on your heating system and be sure it’s working properly. Folks with fireplaces or heating stoves should check that their chimney is clean and in good repair. If you’ve got a furnace, clean or replace the furnace filter. Double check that any heating vents in your home aren’t blocked by furniture or drapery. And make sure your thermostat is calibrated correctly.

Reverse your ceiling fans

If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction once you start running the heat regularly. Heated air rises towards the ceiling. The fan blades running in reverse can help produce an updraft, which should push heated back air down into the room.

Keep the cold air out and the hot air in

Seal off air leaks in your home and you’ll reduce your monthly heating bill. As the temperature drops, it’s easier to find places where cold air is getting in. Check around your home (don’t forget the attic and basement!), then do what you can to fill in the gaps. Check that your air ducts are sealed properly. Caulk around the edges of windows. Add weatherstripping around drafty doors. Use foam sealant around plumbing pipes.

Clear the gunk out of the gutters

Falling leaves can clog the gutters and drains on the exterior of your home, which can lead to potentially serious water damage. Get the leaves and dirt and built-up gunk out of your gutters now before it gets too terribly cold. Running water through downspouts can help you check for clogs and leaks. If your gutters empty right next to your home, consider adding extensions to the downspouts so that the water runs at least a few feet from your home’s foundation.

Turn off the water outside

Undrained water in pipes can freeze and cause pipes or valves to burst. Disconnect garden hoses and let water in your external faucets drain out. Flip the shut-off valve for your outdoor water for the winter.  If you’ve got an irrigation system for your lawn, call a sprinkler service to drain the system before the temperatures drop below freezing.

Dreaming of owning your own home this winter? We’re here to help.