MAHOPAC, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — This week’s recent cold spell served as a not-so-subtle reminder that winter is only nine weeks away.

With freezing temperatures, icy conditions and snow on the horizon, people are starting to think about protecting their homes for the winter.

Mark Jones, of Mahopac, said this brief fall freeze forced him to start winterizing his home early.

“The first thing I did was went out and made sure I had enough heating oil in the tank, got all the screens out,” Jones said.

Mike DeSiervi, of Top-Notch Construction, suggests starting off by cleaning out the gutters — preferably by hand. He also suggests getting your roof inspected for damage, as well as pruning nearby trees that could break under the weight of snow and ice.

But it’s not just the outside that needs preparation. Experts say you need to check the area around the door and around all of your windows and sky lights for air leaks, CBS2’s Elise Finch reported.

“The skylight will leak and because your have insulation in your roof — it will act like a diaper in the sense that it will hold that water,” DeSiervi said. “That will cause mold and other things.”

When it comes to your home heating system, experts say an annual tune-up is crucial, and should ideally be done before turning on the system for the first time.

“We’re basically checking all electrical connections we’re starting up the equipment, making sure all the thermostats are functioning,” Perry Green, of Bruni & Campisi Plumbing and Heating, said.

A home heating inspection or gutter cleaning will cost you about $150-$300 dollars, but experts say the small expense now could save you thousands in repairs over the winter.

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