Preparing your house for winter may not be on the top of your to-do list, but now that we are past the Thanksgiving holiday, it is a really good time to start thinking about your home maintenance as well as getting it ready for the colder weather.

Here are a few items that you can do to make your home a lot more enjoyable when the thermometer dips:

Check your home’s heating and air conditioning system. Before the weather turns cold, take this time to change your filters. If you haven’t had your HVAC system inspected by a reputable HVAC contractor recently, now would be a good time before the temperature falls and your system doesn’t work on a blustery, cold winter day.

Paint, caulk and seal windows and doors. All the wood trim on the exterior of your home needs to be protected from the elements. Take time to go around your home and make sure that none of the caulk is cracking and your paint is not chipping and flaking away. If it is, scrape away the bad apply a fresh coat of paint or caulk. Make sure there is not any rotten wood. If you have any wood rot you may need to hire a good trim carpenter to tackle the job. 

Trim Tree Branches. Make sure any tree limbs or branches surrounding your home are at least 3 feet away from the house. It’s a good idea to trim them away before winter so you don’t have ice-coated branches against your roof, siding or windows.

Clear Out Gutters and Downspouts. Clogged gutters or downspouts can damage your home’s foundation and deteriorate the exterior. It can also lead to settling under your concrete porches and walkways.  Also, make sure the gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water. Tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets as needed and replace any broken materials.

Have Your Fireplace Inspected. A good chimney sweep company will make sure the fireplace is safe to use, and they will also identify maintenance problems. Fall is also a good time to order a load of firewood.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Most house fires happen in the winter. Check all of your smoke detectors to make sure they are working and have fresh batteries. If your home does not have carbon monoxide detectors, now is a good time to consider getting some. The HVAC inspection will also make sure your furnace and water heater are vented correctly, which is the most likely source of carbon monoxide.