The cold weather has arrived and the winter season is around the corner. Don’t let the snow catch you off guard from getting your home winter ready. Start thinking about how to protect your home from any potential damage the freezing temperatures and snow may bring.

Here is a checklist that will help you prepare.

1. Clean your air conditioner(s): It served you well all summer long, now it’s time for a break. So, wipe down the unit, clear debris from the surrounding area and hose it down. Once it’s completely dry, cover the air conditioner and turn off the water shutoff valve, if your system has one. Remove window units and store them indoors to prevent window drafts. If you can’t remove your window unit, close the vents and protect it from the elements with an air conditioner cover.

2. Drain your sprinkler system: You can either remove the water using the system’s drain valves or have a professional blow the water out with a large air compressor.

3. Turn off outdoor water supply: Make sure all exterior water spigots are turned off and all attached hoses or other devices are removed, drained and properly stored.

4. Insulate pipes: This will help prevent your pipes from freezing and save money on your hot water bill. Insulate by duct-taping pre-slit pipe foam (available at hardware stores) around exposed pipes in your home’s crawl space or attic.

5. Caulk air leaks around doors and windows.

6. Add more insulation if needed. If you can see the ceiling joists in your attic, you may need more insulation.

7. Test your thermostat. Turn it into heat mode to make sure the furnace kicks on and blows warm air.

8. Have the furnace inspected by a professional. Make sure it’s in good shape to last through the winter.

9. Inspect and clean your roof and gutters.

10. Install storm windows and doors.

Taking the time to winter-proof your home is a small price to pay especially if may help you prevent a home claim. Now is also a good time to stock up on all the winter essentials too including salt, sand, and snow shovels. It won’t go to waste and you’ll need them before you know it. Contact your broker and review your home insurance policy to make sure you are properly covered.