Baby it’s cold outside. And with that cold comes an increased utility bill and the risk of an expensive repair if your home isn’t properly maintained. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the coming winter months.

1. Be prepared – Keep an emergency supply of food and water, flashlight, battery-powered radio and lamps and extra batteries in case of a prolonged power failure during a storm.

2. Maintain the essentials – Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Use the daylight savings time change in spring and fall as annual dates to do this chore. If you don’t have detectors, now would be the time to install them.

3. Protect your outside possessions – Plants and any outdoor grilling gear you don’t want damaged by the elements should be moved inside the house or placed in a garage or appropriate storage space.

4. Take in that fresh air – Change the filter on your furnace. You should have your furnace professionally inspected once a year.

5. Don’t let the outside in – Check the caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors. An air leaks or drafts can lead to an expensive heating bill.

6. Protect your pipes – Wrap exposed pipes to prevent freezing and breaking. If a pipe freezes, thaw it slowly with a hair dryer or lamp.

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