In anticipation of the cold weather that comes with the transition from fall to winter, it is worth thinking about preparing for freezing temperatures. Extreme cold is very hard on everything–from your outdoor furniture to your pipes to your body and mind. Everything is affected when the thermostat drops significantly. Proper preparation for freezing temperatures comes down to preparing your home to handle the cold and preparing yourself to survive should something go wrong. You always want to be prepared to look after yourself under adverse conditions, but adequately preparing your residence for cold weather is one of the most important first steps. Here is a look at some of the top ways you should be preparing for freezing temperatures.

Install Weather Stripping, Seals, and Check Insulation

This is probably the most fundamental part of preparing your home for cold weather. Ensuring that your insulation is in good condition and is the proper depth, sealing leaks, and adding or replacing weather stripping to doors will ensure that your home retains heat during the cold. You don’t want to deal with this during a blizzard, so inspect these things now and make any necessary repairs before the weather turns for the worse.

Protect Pipes and Prevent Ice Dams

Freezing temperatures and water are a damaging combination. Frozen pipes can burst and ice dams can cause water damage to the roof and attic. Preparing your home in order to prevent these is important as the weather gets colder. Pipes should be insulated and you should make sure that the roof deck is properly sealed and that heat sources are relocated from directly under the roof. Insulating recessed lighting is also a good way to prevent heat from getting trapped in the attic and melting snow on the roof–causing water runoff and forming ice along the gutters. Essentially, this step also comes back to sealing and insulating your home.

Guard Against Leaks

Make sure that as you seal openings and add weather stripping you are also regularly clearing these areas of debris. Before a winter storm hits and the temperature drops and snow begins piling up, clear window wells, walls, drains, and gutters of all leaves and debris. This will help prevent drainage problems that can cause runoff and leaks. After a snowstorm you will also want to clear snow from these areas to prevent them from freezing over and possibly breaking and leaking. This is a similar step as the above mentioned to prevent ice dams since leaks can result from ice accumulation and its subsequent melting.