Every season brings unique safety concerns, and winter is no exception. During the cooler months, homes face an array of potential issues from bursting pipes to fires caused by heating sources. Furthermore, winter is typically an expensive utility bill season—but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are eight ways to maintain safety and save money this winter.

1. Clean Gutters

As snow melts, the water needs a clear path from the roof away from the home. Otherwise, you run the risk of flooding. Regularly clean out excessive build up of fallen leaves, pines and debris to prevent overflow later.

2. Trim Trees

Survey the perimeter of you home to see if any tree branches have grown toward your home. Snow and ice can weigh these branches down and cause damage. Take preventative action, and trim branches before the first snowfall.

3. Keep Pathways Clear

Keep salt and shovels readily available to clear pathways immediately upon snowfall. This will prevent potential slips and falls.

4. Plant a Windbreak to Conserve Energy

By planting a row of conifer trees around your property, you can successfully deter cold winds from blowing against the home. A windbreak can save you up to 30% in heating costs annually.

5. Conduct an Energy Audit

To conduct an energy audit, a specialist will come to your home to inspect its insulation. A properly insulated home is key to eco-friendly and cost-effective heating. Some utility companies will even offer a rebate upon receiving documentation of an energy audit.

6. Monitor Low Temperatures

While it’s common to lower your home temperature when you’re not there to save costs, don’t set it too low. As a rule of thumb, your home shouldn’t drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures fall, you risk freezing and bursting pipes.

7. Take Precaution With Heating Equipment

The winter months see an increase in fires caused by heating equipment. In fact, half of all home-heating fires occur between December and February.

Heating equipment caused roughly 53,600 U.S. home structure fires in 2011. To prevent fires, furnaces, space heaters, chimneys and radiators must be cleaned regularly and kept away from flammable materials like bedding and paper.

8. Leverage Home Automation Technology

With home automation, you can schedule set times to turn the heat and lights on and off. This adds convenience to your daily routine and helps you save on utility bills.

How do you stay safe and cut costs during the cooler months? Share your thoughts in the comments below.