There is no question that winter is here, but have you done the essentials to prepare your home so that it is ready? Winter has crept up on us quickly this year and if you haven’t taken the time to make your home as efficient as possible, it is not too late to still take action. Here is a checklist to follow for some helpful tips in combatting the cold.

Weatherstripping: It is never too late to address drafty doors that with a quick and easy fix. Weathersrtripping kits are an inexpensive way to “do it yourself” and seal up those drafts. Aside from your energy savings, you will add comfort and warmth by avoiding those cold drafts when the harsh wind blows.

Windows: Much like sealing up drafts in doorways, weatherproofing your windows is another great idea. Window insulation kits are highly effective in preventing drafts or cold that transfers through the glass panes. Kits of the clear plastic sheets are typically around $10 and can be used on a few average sized windows. All you need is a little time, scissors and a hair dryer and you will be saving yourself from wasting energy costs and a cold home.

Water Heaters: Purchasing an appropriate water heater blanket can save up to 9% of your energy costs. Where most heaters are in basements, garages or other unheated locations, keeping them warmer will help them for efficiency.

Furnace: Have you recently had your furnace serviced or replaced its filter? At the very least replacing your filters as recommended will help keep your systems running efficiently in turn will save you money in your monthly bills.

Ceiling Fans: Most everyone who has ceiling fans uses them during the warmer summer months. However, during those winter months, switch your fans to a clockwise direction and have them push the warm air that has risen back downward so that you get the most out of your heat.

Update your Thermostat: If you have an old basic dial thermostat, it may be time to consider an upgrade. Smart thermostats of today can detect if anyone is home and will adjust temperatures accordingly. Aside from being programmable, they can also be conveniently controlled remotely via smart phones so you can adjust your home’s temperature before even arriving.

Outdoor Plants:  Protect some of your more fragile and smaller plants in your yard from cold and snow. Creating A-frames to cover plants can protect them from heaps of damaging snow. Following up with wrapping them in burlap to protect from strong and cold winds can also be of help.