You’ve packed away the lawn furniture, backyard entertainment, and other favorite things for summer fun outdoors. The evening air feels crisp and is starting to smell of chimney smoke. But before you head indoors for good, there are some basic things you should do to prepare your home for winter.

Hoses and Faucets

Since the Pacific Northwest rains will handle all your watering, you won’t be needing to keep the garden hoses at the ready for a good many months. Now’s the time to disconnect the hoses from the faucets and drain them before storing away. Then for a couple bucks you can fit the outdoor faucets with insulated covers which will help prevent pipes from bursting. If you know where the shut off valve is for the outside faucets, it’s recommended to turn that off, and drain out the excess water before putting on the winter faucet cover.

Winterize

Older homes can be quite cold and drafty when the thermometer falls and the icy wind starts to blow. Caulking around the exterior between the trim and siding, and around windows and door frames is an inexpensive way help keep out the cold. There are also varieties of weatherization plastic that will help reduce cold air from seeping in through old windows. In newer homes that aren’t so drafty, you can still take steps to save energy through the cold months such as changing the furnace filter, reversing ceiling fans to turn clockwise, and programming your thermostat. Check out the U.S. Department of Energy for winter thermostat tips.

Prune

After summer growth and bloom seasons are over is the ideal time to prune back your trees and shrubs to get them ready for winter. Not only is it good for the health and appearance of your yard’s greenery, it’s also good for your house to cut everything back to a safe distance. Wind storms and ice build up can turn your beloved foliage into destructive weapons which can cause damage to your home.

Gutters and Downspouts

Icicles are one of the beautiful symbols of the winter season. But even though they are so pretty, it’s not a good sign when they’re hanging from your roof. Icicles forming on your roof indicate clogged gutters. The weight of the ice can damage the structure of your gutters which will mean expensive repairs. It’s a good idea to get the gutters cleaned out now and let wintery icicles decorate the trees but not your home.