Fall in New England is magical. It’s the time of fairs, picking apples and admiring fall foliage. But it goes fast and before you know it we will be facing another winter. Last winter was a doozy for the Northeast, and some homeowners suffered high heating bills or damage to their homes because they didn’t adequately prepare for the challenges cold, snowy weather can bring. Don’t make that mistake – take action now before it’s time to break out the snow shovels.
Top 10 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Winter
- Prevent leaks by inspecting your roof to see if there are any loose, damaged or missing shingles, and fix or replace them. Be sure to also check and repair any damage to flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys.
- While you are up there, clean out your gutters. Leaves, twigs and other debris will prevent proper drainage of rain and snow melt, which could result in icicles or ice dams forming. First clean the gutters by hand, then spray them with a hose to make sure you’ve removed everything.
- Once you’re done washing out the gutters (and anything else that needs to be cleaned outside) drain and store hoses for the season and turn off the faucets by closing off the water supply to outside taps and draining the water supply lines leading to them.
- Check your weather stripping around windows and doors and replace any that is cracked or worn. Do the same with any caulking that is looking worn and ragged, and be sure to select an efficient, moisture-resistant product. This will help keep the cold from entering your home, keep you warmer, and help reduce your heating bill. Don’t forget the basement windows!
- Instead of raking, mulch your leaves by mowing them. By cutting the leaves, while dry, into dime-sized pieces, they will decompose and nourish your lawn over the winter.
- When do you want to find out your furnace has some issues that need to be fixed – in October or in January? Now is the time to clean or replace dirty furnace filters and have a professional inspect your heating system.
- Prevent chimney fires by hiring a professional to examine your chimney and vents and make sure they are clean and in good repair.
- A lot of heat can be lost through poorly insulated and disconnected duct work. Call a duct-cleaning service like Octagon Cleaning & Restoration to inspect and clean your system and make sure everything is in good working order.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. Many of us are forgetful by nature, and you don’t want to pay money to heat your home when no one is there or everyone is sleeping because someone forgot to turn the thermostat down.
- Stock up on winter supplies now. Don’t wait until the snow flies, buy your shovels, salt/ice melt, test your snow blower to make sure everything is in working order, and get it serviced if there is a problem. It’s also a good idea to purchase some emergency items in case of a severe storm and/or loss of power. Some good things to have on hand include bottled water, nonperishable food, a flashlight, batteries, candles, matches/lighter, a portable radio and a camp stove for cooking.
If you need help getting your home ready for winter, or dealing with its aftermath, Octagon Cleaning & Restoration provides air duct cleaning services, and can also help mitigate any water damage that occurs as a result of leaking from ice dams. Give us a call in Maine (207) 893-0002 or New Hampshire at (603) 239- 2100.