Don't Fall into Winter - Be Prepared!
Prepare your home for winter with our fall home checklist.
We may still have a few warm, sunny days left, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s definitely fall in New England and we are slowly creeping into the next season. With this comes colorful leaves, cooler weather, and the perfect time to get your home ready for winter.
- Clean your gutters and downspouts. Removing the buildup of leaves will help prevent wood rot problems, pest infestations, ice dams, and ruined gutters.
- Check your roof for any damage, corrosion or leaks. Don’t wait until the dripping starts; stop it before the winter arrives.
- “Clean chimneys don’t catch fire.” Call a local, certified professional to inspect and, if necessary, clean your fireplace or wood burning stove. Whether its creosote built up in your chimney or a rodent nest, the result can be a devastating fire. Some condo associations require an annual cleaning and inspection. Not a bad habit to get into.
- Seal up your windows and doors. Applying silicone caulk to the gaps between siding and the window or door frames can prevent leaks, and help you save on the heating bill!
- Trim trees and branches around your home. New England winters are notorious for wet or icy snow which causes branches to crack and break. Remove any limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or to the roof of your house.
- Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t forget to test the detectors by pressing the “test” button.
- Get your heating system inspected. (hint: the earlier the better, to avoid the last-minute rush) Replacing belts is much less expensive than a major repair, like a blown motor, and doing it before you need your heat helps to avoid a true “three dog night” when you least expect it.
- Reverse your ceiling fans, if you have them. Energy Star recommends reversing the motion of your fans so they are spinning in the clockwise direction. This will cause a gentle updraft and causes the warm air near the ceiling down into the occupied space.
- Inspect your attic and basement for insulation and critters. Make sure your insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves, and definitely check for birds or rodents. Install screens for attic vents to keep out those unwanted guests. If your insulation is starting to fall, handle with gloves and consider stapling back in place.
- Be prepared, get your cold-weather essentials now. Don’t wait until the first snowfall to get a new shovel or snow blower. Buy one now. Make sure to grab salt and ice melt while you’re there! (The pet safe kind can be tough to find in January.)
Spending a little bit of time and money now will save you money down the road, and may prevent the worst case scenarios from happening during the coldest time of the year.
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