1. Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors -- and smoke detectors -- with working batteries. December and January are peak months for carbon monoxide poisoning, but less than one-third of homes have detectors.
2. Clear out the area around the vents, and remove snow and ice from the pipes. Intakes and exhausts on furnaces and hot water heaters, especially in homes built within the past 30 years, have a tendency to become blocked by sloppy and blowing snow.
3. Clear dryer vents before you start drying clothes.
4. Make sure holiday decorations have tightfitting connections (three-prong outlets are optimal), are away from main walkways, and are never beneath carpets or rugs.
5. Heavy, wet snow puts pressure on roofs of homes and buildings, especially flat ones. Removing snow yourself can be dangerous, so it's best to call a professional.
6. Clean exhaust fans and filters in bathrooms and kitchens. We spend more time indoors in winter, when indoor air quality is especially important.
7. Furnace filters should be changed every two months.
8. Seal windows and doors. Gaps around windows and doors can make it tough to keep your house warm in winter. Caulk around windows and install weather stripping around doors as needed. This minor and inexpensive task can help you save on heating costs.
9. Turn off exterior faucets. Undrained water in pipes can freeze which can cause pipes to burst as ice expands.
10. Reverse ceiling fans to force warm air downward.