If you own a home, there are several things to do to prepare for the onset of winter. Make sure that your furnace is in good working order and that you have clean air filters. If you have a chimney and a wood-burning fireplace, have a professional chimney sweep clear it of inflammable creosote, a fire hazard responsible for many house fires annually in the United States. Also, check the chimney outside for any birds’ nests, which are also a potential fire hazard. Outside, in the yard, drain garden hoses and check the sprinklers to make sure they are clear. Frozen hoses and sprinkler systems can cause pipes to burst.