“I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!” said the Big Bad Wolf to the Three Little Pigs. In Las Vegas, the winter wind can sometimes feel like that bad old wolf, but just as the smart little piggy built a house of bricks, you too can protect your home from the wicked winter wind, which is a natural by-product of life in this desert climate.

Timing is everything, and while it may be hard to think about cold weather during the months when temperatures range from hot to hotter, this is the time for taking action to prepare your house for winter winds. Starting preparations no later than the fall ensures plenty of time for identifying issues and carrying out repairs.

Not sure where to begin? Check out the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) website for recommendations on professional home inspectors in your area. Here are some primary areas of concern for you and your inspector.

Roof

The roof of your home takes the brunt of what Mother Nature dishes out season after season. It’s probably best to leave the task of rooftop exploration and restoration to a professional roofer. Consult the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) website for an expert in your area. Roofers can look for cracks, missing shingles, holes, dry rot, and other defects, which, if not addressed, may worsen over time, create a weakened structure, and cause costly damages. A compromised roof can allow air leaks, which drain energy efficiency, and water leaks, which can lead to major repairs.

Windows and Doors

If your home is not already equipped for protection against winter wind with properly insulated doors and windows, consider making the investment. Regardless of the existing details of your home’s construction, make a thorough inspection of the caulking around all windows and the weather stripping around all doors. Infiltration of the elements at these leak-prone zones can seriously mess with your home’s heating efficiency, causing those costs to skyrocket. Garage doors may benefit from added insulation, which, by the way, also comes in handy during the hot months when overheated garages lead to heat build-up inside your home.

Exterior

Perform a visual inspection of facades. Seal or correct cracks or defects. If your construction has any siding, architectural shutters, or other affixed details, make sure they have not loosened from previous encounters with winter wind.

AC Units

Check outdoor equipment in advance of adverse weather conditions. Attend to any loose connections or other issues before they worsen in the elements. This avoids more costly emergency repairs later on. Rooftop units are particularly vulnerable and have the potential to suffer substantial damage.

Landscaping

Trim shrubbery and trees so that overgrown branches do not pose a danger to your home’s exterior. If any trees appear sickly or unstable, remove them before the winter wind can uproot and topple them, potentially damaging your house. Secure trelliswork and similar landscape elements and store away any outdoor furnishings or other items that could blow around and do harm to your home.