Each year as the seasons change from Summer to Fall, homeowners start to think about winterizing their homes. Here in the Boston area, Winter has a way of sneaking up and surprising us early (remember the October snow storms?) so its best to get a jump start on winterizing your home. Not only will it keep you cozy in the cold months ahead, but it can save you a lot of money to avoid repairs or damage.
Here are a few tips I offer Buyer as well as properties I manage:
Clean your Gutters – Each Spring I get the calls about ice dams. Your gutters need to be cleaned out now to help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming. Ice dams can back up under the roof line and cause water damage in the house. A clean sweep of your gutters now can keep the water flowing where it should – away from the house.
Turn off the Water – Do you have water shut off valves in your basement for outdoor spigots or sprinkler systems? Shut them off and remember to drain whatever was left in the pipe. The extreme cold can cause water left inside outdoor pipes to freeze and expand causing a break that can be costly to repair in the spring.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans – with the still warm days upon us we might still be using our ceiling vans. When winter comes we forget them – but they can still be helpful if you set them to counterclockwise rotations and the blades will push the warm air from along the ceiling downward – keeping your room a little warmer.
Cover your Windows – Not just with drapes, but did you know window insulation film can reduce nearly 60-70% of heat loss? It can be picked up at your local hardware supply house and easily applied.
Planning on a Cozy Fire this Winter – Now is the time to call the chimney sweep to clean out soot and debris and make sure your flues are cleared.
Take a Walk Around Your House – Any tree limbs that look like they are hanging low near power lines? Cut them down now. Trees branches overhanging your house or garage that look like they could be unsafe in the event of heavy snow? Cut them now. Bushes that are overgrown and too close to vents (which can cause blockage with heavy snow)? Cut them back.
Have a Professional Check Your Furnace – Now is the time, not when its 10 below zero and something goes wrong. The water heater can also be drained for efficiency.
If you haven’t already, call for an Energy Audit -- A professional technician comes to your home to examines the insulation, furnace, ductwork, and may use special tools — such as an infrared camera — to tell you what’s needed. Energy assessments are free through the state’s Mass Save program (www.masssave.com , 866-527-7283), and they may offer rebates (you will need to check). MassSave also offers an online assessment tool that you can take.
There are many other things you can do but if you start with this checklist you should be in good shape as winter approaches. It’s just a little extra work one weekend and you can kick up your slippered feet in front of a cozy fire all winter.
And, if you are in the market to buy a home – and this check list hasn’t scared you off from homeownership -- we’re here to help! Contact us and we can find the right home – and look for ones that have been well-maintained like above - for you and your family.