COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As cold weather approaches, it’s important to take a few preventative measures to protect your home.

Winterizing or weatherproofing your home is relatively easy and inexpensive, and could end up saving money in the long run.

Home inspector Jim Troth with Habitation Investigation said there are several small ways to make a big difference before the cold weather hits.

“It’s very important that before things start freezing, you really need to do stuff on the outside of the house,” Troth said. “First thing is the gutters.”

He said to make sure they’re clear of any debris.

“If the gutters get frozen, full of leaves, all your water is just going to sit in here and overflow, and then you’ll have all that water next to your foundation,” Troth said.

Also, make sure the downspouts are carrying that water away from your home’s foundation.

“You want to try and get water as far away as you can, at least six feet is a good goal,” he said. “At least 6 to 10 feet.”

Next, Troth said to turn off, drain, and cover any hose bibs or outdoor faucets.

“That’ll hold the heat into it, because if your pipe gets cold enough and it freezes and it breaks, you could have a water leak inside your house,” he said.

In addition, Troth offered the following tips for the inside of the home:

  • Repair any loose weather stripping around doors and windows to keep cold air out.
  • Check the batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  • If you have a chimney that is not being used, seal it up to avoid air loss.

In your basement, Troth suggests checking for exposed areas like band boards.

“What’s behind there is just a single piece of wood, and maybe some siding on the outside,” he said. “So adding insulation here is very important.”

And, be kind to your furnace, not just when temperatures are cold, but year-round.

If the filter collects too much dirt, the furnace can’t circulate air properly, and inefficiency can lead to higher costs. The filter should be changed once every 30 days.