For many homeowners, winter comes with a lot of hassles. Damaged pipes and freezing water are just some of the woes the drop in temperature brings with it. Estimated winter damages to houses can extend into the billions of dollars.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Winter is supposed to be a time for holiday cheer, and you can certainly get yourself into the festive spirit. All it takes is a little preparation, and five of our handy tips:

1. Insulate Your Water Pipes

If there’s one thing you need to protect in your home, it’s the pipes. Freezing water pipes are the most significant contributor to winter damage for homeowners, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety

The secret is to insulate the pipes properly. Insulation comes cheap, with most stores selling the material for only 50 cents per foot. So, be generous with it! 

Wrap pipes under sinks, in the attic, and along the walls. Be especially attentive to those in the basement, which are more prone to freeze than pipes elsewhere in your house.

2. Don’t Forget Your Outside Water Sources

Pipes and hoses on the outside of your house are most at risk of freezing and bursting, for apparent reasons. Garden hoses, lawn sprinklers, and outdoor faucets are included in this list.

The first thing you should do to prevent freeze is to drain the pipes of any leftover water. It can freeze quickly and cause the hose to burst, for example. Shut off the mains that supply water to these outdoor areas and open the hose spigot to drain it entirely.

3. Replace Your Windows With Storm-Proof Versions

Frigid winter weather also brings the dangers of blizzards. Make sure your home is ready for the strong winds and chills these weather disturbances invoke. The best way to do this is to install glass storm windows on top of your existing windows.

Not only will this protect the inside of your home during a storm, but it will keep it warmer, too. Storm windows create a pocket of air that acts as insulation, keeping the cold air outside.

4. Check Your Chimney and Fireplace

Wintertime is the best time to whip out the firewood and keep yourself warm over a roaring fireplace. Make sure it is in tip-top shape, though, because underserviced fireplaces and chimneys are a significant health hazard.

Acquire the services of a qualified chimney expert to take a look at your home. They will make sure there are no leaks between the bricks and test the integrity of your fireplace.

5. Check and Repair Your Roof

Heavy snowfall during winter can damage your roof quickly. If there are loose or damaged areas, moisture can build-up, which leads to leaks seeping through and dripping inside your home.

A qualified roofing contractor can inspect your roof before the first snowfall hits. They would check for any missing shingles, or weakened areas in your roof that are potential sources of leaks come wintertime.

Don’t wait to winterproof your home. Take it from Team Couch; well-maintained homes are gems on the real estate market.