If you’re a new home owner, or just dream of home ownership, you might be surprised at the seasonal work that comes with the territory. From tending the lawn all summer, to protecting your pipes against the cold, there are many things you should know about caring for your own home. Many people learn as they go, fixing problems that pop up due to harsh weather, precipitation and changing temperatures. This might leave you with costly repairs that could have been prevented with a little up front maintenance.

The following tips are easy to do, even if you’re not handy, but can help prevent damage, reduce utility bills and make life as a homeowner a lot more enjoyable!


Seal cracks and gaps around windows

Make your windows more airtight for the winter by sealing cracks and gaps. You can get weather kits at most home improvement and hardware stores to get you started. These often include detailed instructions to make installation even easier. This Old House offers some tips in this video if you’re looking for additional guidance.


Stop door drafts 

Doors can let in a lot of cold air during the winter even when they’re closed if they don’t seal properly, leading to high heating bills and a less cozy home. You can install door draft stoppers on every entry door to stop drafts in their tracks. These are easy to install, you simply peel the backing off and stick the material to the bottom edge of your door. A quick visit to your local hardware or home improvement store will get you started.


Winterize outdoor faucets

Freezing temperatures can be brutal on your pipes, especially outdoor faucets. Save yourself future inconvenience, and repair bills, by draining and insulating your outdoor faucets. The most simple way to do this is to purchase a kit designed to cover and seal outdoor spigots. These are inexpensive and come with easy to follow instructions.


Clean the gutters and downspouts

Gutters and downspouts protect your home from accumulating moisture, ushering water away from your roof and your foundation. If they are clogged with debris, or otherwise not functional, they can’t do their job. Cleaning these before the storms come will help protect your home. Simply removing debris by hand works, but you can also use a hose to flush them out. Here are some additional tips if you’re new to gutter maintenance.


HVAC upkeep

Your HVAC system works just about all year long, but sometimes people forget that filters need changed in the winter too! Not only will this help improve your indoor air quality, it’s equally important for airflow during the heating season as it is in the summer. Help yourself stay on track by putting a “change filter” reminder on your family’s calendar.


Last but not least, protect your pipes from freezing during cold snaps by keeping cabinet doors open to sinks that share external walls. You can also insulate pipes in unheated areas of your home and  let cold water drip from sinks to prevent freezing. All it takes is a small drip during the coldest hours to help save your pipes.