Summer is almost over. And though fall hasn’t arrived yet, it’s not too early to prepare your home for the winter season. Early preparation can save you from unforeseen expenses and damages. Use this checklist to identify problem areas in your home and to make repairs where needed.

Is the exterior of your home in good shape?

Paint, caulk, and wood can deteriorate through the changing of seasons. So check the exterior of your home and see if it can protect the interior from the elements this winter season. In particular, examine the trim around your doors and windows. These are not commonly made with pressure-treated wood, so they can rot when not painted or caulked correctly. If you have a deck, you should also check if it’s still water-resistant. Pour some water on it and observe how it reacts. Does the water seep through the wood? If it does, then you need to apply a new coat of sealant. Lastly, assess your roof and repair any damages you see.

Is your heating and air conditioning system working properly?

You and your family need to stay warm during the winter, but you cannot do that if your heating system is not working properly. Most homes have a central air conditioning system that lets you adjust the temperature in each room of the house. If this is what you have at home, you should change the filters, check the tubes, and clean the unit before the season turns cold. At the same time, if you have a fireplace, perform a thorough maintenance check to see if it’s in good condition. The maintenance procedure for a fireplace will depend on what type you have—wood-burning, gas, or electric.

Are your drainage and gutters clean?

The winter season brings about snow, which can cause serious water damage if you already have an existing drainage problem. Water should have a proper way of moving away from your home. The soil around your house will freeze and thaw with the changing of seasons as well. If there is an existing drainage problem, the soil may have already turned soft and it will only get softer after the winter. Your gutters should be cleaned out as well. You don’t want them to overflow, causing water to run down and into your home. These problems can all lead to the deterioration of your foundation, which is a huge safety hazard.

Have you finished doing these miscellaneous things?

  • For those who have a swimming pool, you should drain it before winter comes. Fall is also a good time to have your pool fixed if there are any issues because contractors are not as busy as they are in spring.

  • Run a test to see if your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, especially if you have a fireplace at home.

  • If you have a garden, make sure that you store your tools properly during the fall and winter seasons. Clean them so they don’t rust. For gas-powered lawnmowers, drain the gas so it doesn’t turn into gunk during the colder months.

Before winter comes, make sure to perform the tasks above. Not only does this checklist prevent unwanted costs and damages, but it will also keep you and your family safe during the winter season.