If you aren’t prepared, cold weather, snow, and ice can cause expensive damage to your home. When the outside temperature starts to drop, it’s past time to prepare for winter. To help you protect your property, we’ve identified five winter maintenance tips that often get overlooked and forgotten.

1. Clean out your dryer vents.

Forgetting to clean out your dryer vent can be a costly mistake. Over time, your vent can become clogged with lint and other debris, and if you aren’t cleaning it regularly, your dryer will become less efficient and could become a fire hazard. Cleaning your dryer vent is simple. Remove the outside cover and use a lint brush to clean out the inside. If you have any questions, reach out to a maintenance professional. According to Home Advisor, a professional cleaning will cost around $100.

 2. Check your doors & windows for leaks.

Winter prep for your home is all about keeping the cold weather out and the heat locked in. To do that, you’ll need to check your home inside and out for any cracks and leaks. Start by inspecting the places in your home where the heat escapes most, like your windows and doors. Be sure to check your weather stripping and all your hinges and locks. Inspect window panes for cracks. Seal and secure what you can and replace anything that can’t be fixed. While securely sealing up your home may require significant effort, it could help save you a lot of money on your next electricity bill.

3. Change your air filters.

Once your home is sealed up and ready for winter, you’ll want to make sure the air you’re breathing inside is clean. Changing out your old air filters each winter can help maintain optimal air quality inside your home and will help your HVAC system run more efficiently. Typically, these filters can be switched out on your own. Be sure to check the size of your filter before purchasing new ones and always follow your system’s user manual for replacement instructions.

4. Weatherproof your pipes.

Burst pipes and broken faucets can be expensive to fix. Avoid the headache by winterproofing your pipes before the first freeze. For outside your home, start by draining hoses and pipelines in the fall, then add insulation to any above-ground pipes or facets to prevent cracking. Inside your home, you may want to consider adding insulation to at-risk areas, such as underneath a kitchen or bathroom sinks. Anytime you know the temperatures will be unusually cold, leave your faucet on a slow drip overnight to prevent burst pipes in the morning.

5. Clean your chimney & fireplace.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 30% of home fires start in fireplaces or chimneys. To help keep your home and family safe this winter, be sure to clean and maintain your chimney and fireplace properly. While the average chimney cleaning will run you around $150, according to Thumbtack.com, it’ll be worth the peace of mind when you light your first fire of the season.