CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — As temperatures drop and Central Virginia anticipates its first frosts of the season, homeowners are beginning to brace themselves — and their homes — for chillier weather ahead.

They say it’s what is on the inside that counts, but Nick Atkinson with Chesterfield’s Great Big Greenhouse told 8News that winterizing the space outside your home is just as important.

“You can increase your chances of getting through the winter without sustaining any damage,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson suggests residents water their plants prior to freezing temperatures. He also highlighted mulching and covering plants — using burlap rather than materials like plastic — as a primary way to protect gardens from the winter frost.

Moving beyond the home’s exterior, proper pipe and HVAC maintenance indoors is another critical element to battling decreasing temperatures for homeowners.

Hugh Joyce, president of James River Air Conditioning Company, noted the significance of monitoring the state of one’s home throughout both the fall and winter.

Atkinson demonstrates how to properly cover plants with burlap material. (Photo: Sierra Krug, 8News)

“Make sure their vents are open. Make sure they’re not blocked [or] obstructed,” Joyce said. “Sometimes people will leave, forget to set the thermostat to heat, and come back to frozen pipes.”

Lack of maintenance is a motivator for many of the company’s calls for service. Joyce emphasized the importance of keeping air filters clean, oil and propane filters full, and windows closed. Additionally, proper maintenance can help save homeowners money — and stress — this winter, according to Joyce.

“All that feeds into how much oil and power you use,” he said.

More information on exterior home maintenance can be found online here. Winter home maintenance information can be found here.