Winter is coming. Well, sort of. This is south Texas, after all, but that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook when it comes to preparing our homes for winter.

To get there, follow these tips, and enjoy a warm, stress-free winter in a cozy home.

Inspect Windows and Doors

Look at all the weatherstripping and frames for signs of decay. And then just inspect for drafty spots. Replace any decayed frames, then go around the house with a caulking gun and patch up any drafty areas.

Lawn and Garden

Now is a good time to aerate and fertilize your lawn, to promote root development during the cold months for a bright green spring. It’s also a good idea to trim away any overgrown tree branches, which could be succeptible to snapping in the event that we get some ice this year. While you’re at it, give your lawn mower a good cleaning. You probably won’t be using it for a while, and you don’t want mud and grass clippings trapping in rust-causing moisture.

Fireplace and other Heating Things

Make sure your fireplace is free of soot and buildup, and all the smoke escapes freely. While you’re at it, bleed the valves on your hot water radiators, if you have them, to release air trapped inside and promote more efficient heating.

Did you know your ceiling fans can turn in two directions? In the summer, you want the blowing air downward (for obvious reasons). In the winter, change their direction to help more effectively circulate warm air.

Also, change the filter on your HVAC system, because it’s probably due for that, isn’t it (be honest)?

Plug up any drafts or leaks in your attic, too.

General Openings

Make sure any debris is cleared out from things like storm drains and gutters, and make sure those gutters are properly fastened to the house.

Keep in mind that if you have small openings to your home, maybe underneath the porch or in the attic or something along those lines, those openings are attractive to vermin. You’ll want to close those off.