Winter can do a number on your property. From leaks to freezing pipes to worn out furnaces, there’s a lot of maintenance you need to do. Professionals can help, or a couple of busy weekends spent on your home. It will be worth it in the end, as the damage that can happen because you neglected maintenance will be expensive.

Keep Your Pipes from Freezing

Oudtdoor pipes, hoses, and fixtures can easily freeze and crack if you don’t take the proper precautions. Once you finish up the last of the yard work, make sure the hose and water fixture is completely drained. Store the hose and consider insulating the outside water fixture to keep it from freezing.

When it comes to indoor pipes, invest in pipe insulation to prevent a freeze. It can save you thousands of dollars down the road. Frozen pipes are prone to cracking, blocking your plumbing and then leaving leaks that could damage the rest of your home.

Some other easy tricks you can use include keeping your garage doors closed, opening up cabinet doors to let the heating inside, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, and letting cold water drip on deep freeze days. Running water is less likely to freeze. You might also want to avoid programming your thermostat to go down during the night or while you’re at work.

Get Furnace Repairs Done Early

The average lifespan of a furnace is between 13 to 20 years, depending on the model, usage, maintenance, and wear and tear. If you bought your furnace, it’s in your best interest to keep it in a state of good repair. Regular maintenance either done by yourself or a furnace technician can keep it clean and prevent debris from wearing out parts. Clean, well-maintained furnaces also run more efficiently than if they’ve been neglected, saving you money on your energy bills.

It can also be expensive to replace a furnace suddenly. A gas furnace plus installation can cost as much as $4,000 so don’t wait on your furnace repairs if you plan on buying again to replace your existing system. If you don’t have the necessary funds when you do need to replace your furnace, you can always rent and spread the costs out over time.

Buy Floor Mats and a Boot Scraper

Protect your entryway floors from salt, slush, and winter grit by buying a floor mat and a boot scraper. Winter can do a number on your floors if you aren’t careful about maintenance.

Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams form around eaves when your roof is colder at the edges than it is higher. This happens because you have more insulation there. Snow melts above due to the surface temperature and then freezes around the edges. It can be a nightmare that causes leaks and damages your roof. To stop them from happening, you can remove debris from gutters and remove snow as quickly as possible after a storm. If they’re already forming, carefully remove the snow.

This maintenance checklist should help you protect your home from the worst winter has to offer.