(WWLP) – The winter months can cause extensive damage to the exterior of your home, making now the perfect time to get prepared.

Your home and property are an investment, so here are some tips to prepare that investment for the winter. If you’ve installed a new deck or performed exterior work on your home, make sure those materials are safe from the elements. Wood that is not pressure-treated or rot-resistant needs to be painted and caulked.

Experts say it’s not a bad idea to restain and seal your deck every year. To check if the wood is protected, you can pour water on it. If it beads up, it’s protected. Clean the gutters, with the leaves falling they can quickly overflow. And ultimately damage the exterior of your home.

Make sure your pool and sprinkler systems are shut down and the outside faucets have been drained. Check the trees around your home and remove damaged limbs. Branches coated in ice can scratch your windows. Cover your patio furniture and plants at night, and bring the house plants back inside.