Preparing your home to withstand the weather is important. Your home will last longer if you weatherize it, and the occupants will be more comfortable. Also, your energy use (and bills) will go down. Here are some ideas to help you winterize your home.

1. Check for leaks and drafts. In your attic, look for cracks under the eaves. Check around your windows and doors, and on the outside of your house.

2. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal up leaks in doors, windows, and between your home’s siding and foundation. Use caulk only on non-moving window panes and door jambs (such as between the jamb and the wall), or on and around your chimney. Caulk and weather stripping are inexpensive materials that can make a big difference in saving you money over the winter. Check your garage door, too.

3. Insulate your walls and attic. If you don’t already have insulation in your walls, get your walls insulated before winter. Insulation can be blown into the wall space itself, without having to do major renovations. Since heat rises, insulating your attic is also essential.

4. If possible, invest in double-glazed or double-pane windows. These windows are made from layers of glass with an inert gas (usually argon) sandwiched between them. They block out cold and noise, and are very good insulators. If replacing windows is not an option, look for storm windows. These are clear sheets that can be placed on the inside of your existing windows and left there all winter. When spring comes, you take them down.

5. Insulate your water pipes to keep them from freezing. This also keeps your electric bill down because it slows down the time it takes for the hot water in the pipes to cool. Commercial pipe insulation is a simple foam tube that slips over your pipes. You can also make your own insulation using insulating material (such as bubble wrap or newspaper) and duct tape.

6. Clean out your gutters, and get gutter guards if possible. Dirty gutters can leak and the matter in them can freeze, causing damage to your gutters.

7. Change all your furnace filters if you haven’t already. Furnace filters are not expensive but they are essential for your furnace to function efficiently. Give your furnace a trial run and make sure it’s running well, and get it serviced before the cold sets in if necessary.