Colder weather is officially here, and winter is right around the corner. Now is the best possible time to prep your family home for the chilliest time of the year to keep your energy bills from surging. From seasonal home maintenance to touching up your home’s insulation, here are a few ways you can get your house ready for winter before the snow catches you off-guard and blows you out of your monthly budget.

Check in on your water heater

Your water heater is your best friend during the winter season. You want to do all you can to make sure that it doesn’t break down when you need it most. To maintain your water heater, it’s recommended to flush it about every six months or so. However, it’s recommended to flush your water heater more often if you have hard water because the additional minerals can wreak havoc on your system. You can either contact a local water heater maintenance company to flush your water heater for you or you can do it yourself.

To DIY this maintenance project, start by clearing away anything that may be surrounding your water heater. From there, shut off the water supply and power. Place a bucket beneath the pipe under your temperature-pressure relief valve and open the valve quickly about two or three times to check and make sure it’s working properly. The valve may need to be replaced if it shows signs of a leak.

Once you’ve checked your TPR valve, you can check the anode rod. One-hundred percent of all water tanks that contain water for human consumptions require protective coatings and linings, and an anode rod attracts any elements that could corrode those protective coatings. If your anode rod is coated in sediment, you’ll want to get a new one to keep your water heater in good working order. After you’ve checked your anode rod, you can flush your water heater by attaching a hose to the drain valve and letting the water drain out into a bucket.

Insulate your pipes

Once the outdoor temperature starts to drop regularly below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, your pipes are at risk for freezing and bursting. Broken water pipes can be a major headache for homeowners. To help protect your plumbing system during the winter months, make sure that your pipes are sufficiently insulated. If your pipes have burst before, there’s a good chance that they could potentially burst again. Fortunately, home sellers are required by law to reveal any issues that may impact the value of a property, so if your pipes have burst in the past there’s a good chance it’s in your old paperwork.

You can insulate your pipes using a wide variety of materials including insulating pipe wrap, foam pipe covers, and expanding spray foam. Just be sure to check in with your local hardware store whether these materials are available before you put on your mask and head on over. American retailers have dealt with a $44 million inventory shrink, according to statistics from the National Retail Security Survey. Calling ahead will make sure the materials you need will be there when you arrive.

Insulate your windows

Your pipes aren’t the only thing that needs insulating during the winter months. In fact, if your heating bills have been creeping up recently, there’s a good chance your windows are to blame. Cold air can seep in through gaps in your window panes if you’re not careful, causing your HVAC system to work overtime to keep the home properly warm. Fortunately, you can insulate your windows using items like bubble wrap, window insulation film, caulk, and more. You can also use draft stoppers to help keep cold air from creeping in through gaps that may need a little more elbow grease to fill.

With winter right around the corner, now is the best possible time to ready your family home for the colder weather. By following the tips above, you can help to keep your home cozy and warm all winter long without worrying about drafts or broken pipes.