Mother Nature and Old Man Winter have a perverse sense of humor. Just as we see buds appearing on long-dormant trees and hints of green popping through the earth signaling the anticipated arrival of shoots from our beloved bulbs, they always seem to throw us a curve ball.

Spring Break occurs in March. We usually assume that means we’re in the clear from any additional freezing weather. In many areas of the country that assumption is wrong! There is still plenty of time for ice, hail, sleet, and snow to make a late-season appearance … and to damage our homes. If you’re a procrastinator, you’re tempting fate! Take some time to protect your home from the freeze that’s inevitably yet to come!

Wrap Your Outdoor Pipes. Arguably, this is the simplest safeguard you can take and provides huge bang for your buck. Whether you buy foam implements designed for that purpose or simply DIY it with old towels and duct tape, wrapping your pipes should prevent them from bursting – and flooding your home when they thaw.

Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts. Admit it, you probably haven’t done this in a while. In winter, clean gutters will prevent ice dams from forming an possibly damaging them. Once winter’s over, it will ensure that rainwater flows easily through them.

Check Your Roof. Especially if your roof has been subject to hail, take time to have it evaluated by a roofing professional to ensure it’s structurally sound. If there are missing or damaged shingles, melting ice and snow can breech your roof and leak into your home.

Check Your Heating System. When it’s freezing outside, you want it to be cozy and warm inside. First, if you haven’t changed your furnace filter in the previous four months, it is time to switch it out to ensure your system works efficiently (you’ll also experience less dust and fewer allergens.)

Reverse Your Fan Blades. If you have ceiling fans, switch the blades so they turn clockwise. This will push warm air (remember, heat rises!) from the ceiling down into the room.

While we’re in the home stretch and nearing Spring, don’t become complacent. Mother Nature likely has some tricks up her sleeve!