Predictions for winter are rolling in and they are not pretty. I have been saying that we would have a harder winter this year for months but recent forecasts lit a fire under my rear. The weather is warm but it will not stay that way forever and NOW is the time to get ready for winter. By prepping for winter while the weather is warm. You will be more comfortable while you work and reduce risk of an early storm leading to trouble. We don't have much time left. While you are at it you may wanna hang the Christmas lights. Then when the time comes you won't need to hang them. To prepare for a harsh winter you should start with an emergency kit. Your emergency kit will be invaluable should you be snowed in during a large storm. which as the years go by appears to be happening more and more. Your winter emergency kit should include items to keep warm such as extra socks, blankets, and sweaters that are not used regularly so you know they are clean. Hand warmer packs are a great addition often overlooked. Snow clearing and ice melting materials can make an escape from being snowed in easier. A folding shovel and a bag of salt should be kept inside near your door and inside your car. Stock up on salt to keep sidewalks safe. Your should have a basic first aid kit, batteries, candles, flashlights, a weather radio, needs for each member of your family, non-perishable food and water. Now is the time to build a stockpile as food goes on sale. Think of it as getting started prepping for more than cold weather. Insulate your windows window insulation is key to keeping drafts out and warm air in. You can find plastic winterizing kits at your local hardware store. In areas where looks do not matter layer of bubble wrap or two between the window and the plastic is a great way to really pack in the insulation. If you really want to avoid the plastic route you can get a clear film for an extra level of protection and c over with heavy thermal curtains. Clean gutters To help protect your roof from snow and ice that can really weigh it down you can clean your gutters to help melted snow find its way off your roof before the night cools and heavy damaging ice forms. Clean and maintain your heater Change filters, dust grates, and clean the air ducts. You can clean the ducts yourself with a good vacuum with a hose. A clean heater can transfer air better and reduce air pollution in your home. Block drafts around the home You can purchase nice draft guards or opt to roll a towel under the door. Weather stripping tape will keep the cold out of the sides of the doors and even the windows. When the power goes out and you are without heat blocking any place cold air can get in is vital. Caulk cracks both indoors and outdoors go around with a caulk gun and fill in cracks where air (and critters looking for warmth) can sneak in. Last winter we learned even the glass block needed a good layer of calk. Upgrade to a programmable thermostat A programmable thermostat is a bit of an upfront investment that pays off over time. Set the temperature to drop while you are away and rise just before you arrive home for the day. For every degree, you drop you use 1% less energy. Set your thermostat a bit low and toss on a sweater. Insulate your pipes. Pipe insulation is key to protecting your plumbing. Frozen times are one of the most costly effects of winter on the home. All pipes in unheated areas need to be well insulated if you life in an area that drops under 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Outdoor exposed pies such as in mobile homes need to be wrapped in heat tape. At night leave cabinets under the sinks open for heated air to circulate. When the temps are expected to drop really low leave faucets dripping just a bit to conserve water leave large pans or dishpans in the sink so you can use the later for things like watering house plants. Adding pipe insulation to your hot water pipes can help reduce your wait time for hot water to travel through your home helping to reduce your water costs. Be safe when heating your home Space heaters should be kept away from furniture and drapery. Never attach a space heater to an extension cord or power strip. Do not use a propane heater inside closed spaces and never use your oven to heat your home. This is will protect your family from fire while keeping them warm.