Washington D.C. winters are typically long and harsh, and the elements can really take a toll on your home. The better your home is prepared, the more comfortable, protected, and energy efficient it will be until spring arrives.

There are many different things you can do to winterize your home, but here are 5 cold weather prep tricks to keep you as cozy as possible all season long.

  1. Remember to TURN OFF OUTSIDE FAUCETS (HOSE BIBS)

Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as water expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in the hose bibs. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes more than 10 – 15 years old typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.

  1. Service your heating system(s)

With temperatures recently up in the 70s, you may not think much yet about your heating systems. But, the cold weather is right around the corner. Before it hits, ensure that your furnace, heaters, heat pump, etc. are functioning properly. Replace filters and schedule maintenance as needed.

  1. Clean the gutters

Remove any leaves that have piled up in your gutters throughout the fall and thoroughly clean them out. Clogged gutters can be a major issue year-round, but especially in the winter. When water can’t flow freely, gutters can freeze and/or break, leading to leaks and possibly more damage.

  1. Insulate

If you have a large house or particularly high ceilings, you can improve your heat retention by adding insulation to your attic or any other unfinished areas. This will limit the loss of rising heat and help you stay warm and comfortable.

  1. Caulking & weatherstripping

One of the major issues people encounter in the winter is their warm air escapes through cracks or gaps around windows and doors. Heat loss is not only a money waster, but also can make severe weather unbearable. Weatherstrip doors and caulk any openings around windows to prevent any heat from escaping.

Your home is a major investment. Dedicate some time to these cold weather prep tricks to keep everything working effectively and efficiently. You’ll save time and money in future repairs, eliminate any winter worries, and most of all, stay comfortable all season long.