As the winter marches on, many families will find themselves looking for ways to keep warm as the temperature drops further. Winter is upon us, and it’s already been a brutal one for many parts of North America. With more cold weather forthcoming, now might be your last chance to make some upgrades and perform some basic home maintenance to make sure your home stays comfortable and toasty throughout the cold-weather season. If you’re a new homeowner or are new to intense chillier weather, you might not be sure where to start when it comes to winter preparedness, so read on for three basic tips to keep your home warm during the winter.

1. Schedule a maintenance visit for your HVAC system.


For the sake of safety and comfort, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your HVAC at least once yearly, but it’s smart to have it checked again to prepare for a very cold winter. Avoiding a sudden breakdown during cold winter or even a polar vortex is something you definitely want to avoid. Keeping your HVAC in good working order also reduces your ownership costs by preventing more severe damage or a failure of the furnace or any other system elements. Prevention is always the best idea when it comes to taking care of your home, especially if yours is an older home. If you need more incentive, your HVAC will serve you well in the hot summer, too.

2. Seal and repair all your windows and doors.


If this is your first winter in a new home or your first home entirely, have an expert look it over to ensure it’s properly winterized. The condition of fixtures like windows and doors is considered one of the top 5 things to look for when buying a house, but even a newer home can develop problems that need repair, especially for climates with intense weather. Schedule a home inspection to go over all your rooms closely and search for any openings or cracks that may have developed. You can fix drafts that produce cold air on your own if you feel comfortable by using weatherstripping or caulking but engage with a professional if you’re unsure or notice any type of significant damage prior to the winter months.

3. Purchase curtains and keep them closed.


One simple and inexpensive way to keep your home from getting too chilly is to put up curtains and keep them closed late at night as temperatures get lower. Heat escapes buildings more easily through windows, and curtains provide a bonus layer of insulation against any cracks. Floor-length curtains are ideal if you’re aiming to retain heat, but as long as they cover the bottom of the windowsill, you should notice a difference. Any adjustments that reduce your reliance on your HVAC system to regulate temperature will also save you money every month on your energy bills, so you’ll have more warmth and better finances.

While the cold can be unpleasant, don’t let yourself feel uncomfortable at home. A high-quality HVAC system is a worthwhile expense to try to work into a budget, especially if you live somewhere prone to extreme temperatures during the winter months. The upkeep and maintenance of your windows and doors can have a huge effect on the presence of cold drafts inside the house, and eliminating these drafts can save you a lot of money on your utilities, too. If you’re looking for smaller projects, adding curtains is just one idea for retaining more heat. You can even try baking more, as nothing warms a space better than a hot oven while you’re making dinner. No matter which project you decide to try, don’t waste any time preparing yourself and your home for the winter, since you don’t know how soon the next cold spell is coming.