Cooler weather is here and there are some things you need to do to prepare your home for the cold weather. Getting your home in tip top shape for winter will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment. 1. Give your heating system a tune up. Have your furnace or heat pump inspected to make sure the system is clean and in good repair. It will also give you peace of mind as it will also measure for carbon-monoxide leakage. 2. Clean the gutter and drain pipes. This will help move water away from the house. 3. Drain outside faucets. Undrained water that freezes in pipes will expand and can burst. 4. Do a chimney checkup. Clean the fireplace and check for loose or missing mortar. 5. Remove window air-conditioners, or put weatherproof covers on them. 6. If you have storm windows, take down screens and replace with storm windows. 7. Caulk around windows and doors. Add weather stripping as needed around doors. Check the garage door too. 8. Drain the hot water heater. Remove sediment from the bottom of the tank. 9. Have your lawn-irrigation system professionally drained. This will help avoid freezing and leaky pipes come spring. 10. Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft. This will redistribute the warm air from the ceiling.