What's the Deal: Winterize your home

With the first winter-like storm on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about protecting your home and yard from seasonal hazards.

Winter weather is unavoidable in most places but there are ways to avoid a lot of damage that can follow a storm.

Taking an active approach to weather-proofing can save homeowners thousands of dollars if not more, and hours of aggravation.

According to Consumer Reports, water damage accounts for a majority of homeowners' insurance claims.

-Insulate exposed water pipes so they don't freeze and crack when the temperature drops.

-Know how to shut off the water so if the pipes do crack, the damage is minimized.

-Insulate walls, attics, and crawl spaces.

This will keep the heat inside, and help prevent ice dams from forming on your roof.

-Speaking of roofs, repair any damage or loose shingles.

-Snow or ice that collects on a roof will exacerbate the existing damage and leak inside.

-Clean out drains or gutters.

-A blockage can cause water to back up and freeze, potentially causing roof leaks or ice dams.

-Remove weak trees and branches. These can fall on your home or vehicle during a storm and cause severe damage.

A few more money-saving tips are to change your furnace filter when they're dirty, they have to work harder - costing you money.

And change the direction of your ceiling fans, yes, use them in the winter in the clockwise direction to distribute warm air in the room.

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