Is your home ready for winter?

To mariners, “batten down the hatches” means bad weather is imminent. As homeowners, we need to do the same ­— prepare our homes every fall, ahead of winter weather. Here are some money-saving projects to do before winter comes blowing in:

Check the roof. Inspect your roof at least once a year for loose or missing shingles, gaps and tears. Fixing small problems helps to avoid expensive, larger issues later.

Clean the gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, internal leaks and damage from broken or falling gutters. Give your gutters a good cleaning after all the autumn leaves have fallen.

Check and clean the furnace. Ensure your heating system is in good working order before the temperature drops and demand for maintenance increases. Don’t have a money- and energy-saving programmable thermostat? Think about installing one.

Check and clean the fireplace. Have your fireplace professionally inspected and cleaned before you light that first fire. Be sure the pros check the chimney and vents, too. If your fireplace has no cap to keep out critters and debris, have one installed.

Seal windows and doors. Cold air gets into your home through gaps and cracks. Sealing leaky windows and doors, using weather stripping and putting foam insulator pads behind outlet and switch covers can keep your home cozier and your heating bills lower.

Store your stuff. Empty, clean and store your lawnmower, grill, fire pit and other seasonal items. Clean and stow all outdoor furniture. Turn off outside water so pipes won’t freeze and burst. Drain hoses and store indoors.

Stock up! Make sure you have plenty of ice melt, flashlights, batteries and other storm-related supplies. If the power goes out, an old-fashioned plug-in telephone, hand-crank can opener and battery-operated radio will be important.

Call Northwest at 1-877-672-5678 for more information.