Now that fall is in full swing, it’s just a matter of time before we get our first taste of winter weather here in New England. Take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight and mild temperatures and prepare your home for the winter months now. From the inside out, winterizing your home now can help you avoid any potential problems once the colder weather rolls around. And, while some tasks may require a professional, most of these projects are simple enough to tackle on your own. Here are eight tips to help you prepare for winter:
- Perform system maintenance
Annual maintenance is key to keeping your home systems working properly. Getting a furnace inspection and having a professional update your HVAC system can help identify potential problems for the winter months. Additionally, keep an eye on furnace filters that will likely need to be changed more frequently due to increased use (most need to be changed every 30-60 days).
- Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Winter is peak season for home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. From the use of space heaters to fireplaces, candles, and cooking for the holidays, the risk of a fire increases during this time of the year. Check the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and change when needed.
- Add insulation and caulking around windows and doorways
Any home, especially older homes, may need additional insulation and caulking to help keep heat inside and maintain efficient energy use. A professional can identify any spots in your home that may benefit from additional insulation, particularly in attics. Additionally, weather-stripping doors and windows and caulking up any cracks will help keep cold air out and reduce power bills.
- Upgrade to a programmable thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat in your home not only allows you to customize the temperature to your comfort level, but it also helps you save money and control the heat when you’re away from home.
- Conduct an energy audit
Throughout the year, but especially during the winter, your home may be expending energy without you realizing it. An energy audit can help you better understand your home’s energy use and identify how much energy your home is unnecessarily using. Before you make any energy-saving adjustments to your home, conduct an audit and prioritize any potential fixes.
- Walk around the outside of your home to identify potential hazards
Cleaning gutters, turning off any outdoor water sources, and ensuring there is no furniture blocking vents is key to keeping you and your home safe during the winter months. Also, check your roof for any loose shingles or weaknesses that could become vulnerable under the weight of heavy rain and snow.
- Inspect and clean your chimney
If you have a fireplace in your home, consider having a professional come to inspect and clean it. In addition to being a fire hazard, there can be a buildup of creosote or holes where animals can get in and nest ahead of the winter months.
- Plan ahead for storms
A storm can happen unexpectedly — be prepared to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Keep shovels and salt accessible to clear walkways and reduce your risk of falls and keep a close eye on the weather in the event of an upcoming storm.
We hope these tips help keep you and your home safe all winter long.
If you have more questions, however, we work with over 500 independent agents who are ready to help. Visit our website to find a local agent near you: bit.ly/QuincyFindAgent