By: Becky Moore
Every Bay Stater knows winter is coming. The snow and cold are as inevitable as delayed trains in Boston — the question is just how cold and how much snow will we see? Either way, it means it’s time to get your home ready for winter. Here’s how to winterize your home in five steps, before the snow hits.
Get an energy audit
You may be paying more for your utility bills than you have to. That amount rises in the winter when you’re heating your home. An energy audit will tell you if you have air leaks and you need to caulk, or you need insulation. Low-flow showerheads and programmable thermostats will also help you become more energy-efficient, making it easier and cheaper to keep your home warm all winter.
Get your furnace tuned up
It’s better to spend a little money now than a lot more when your furnace stops working on a cold winter weekend. Call a furnace expert who can come and give your heater a checkup. That includes changing furnace filters, cleaning it to keep dirt out, and checking to make sure the pilot light is on. You also want to make sure there’s a clear path from the flue to the outdoors.
Put up storm windows and doors
You could have inexpensive plastic shrink wrap sheets, or you could have pricey Low-E triple-pane storm windows. Either way, storm windows stop or slow the escape of warm air to the outside, making your home warmer and cozier in the winter.
Winterize your roof
Your trees have dropped their leaves, and a lot of those leaves are in your gutter. Get on a ladder, or hire someone if you aren’t able to do it yourself safely. Clean the leaves, twigs and other debris out of the gutters to make sure water can drain instead of pooling and turning to ice during the winter. You’ll also want to check the roof shingles and make sure they are in good condition. Consider using a deicing cable to keep ice dams from forming over the cold months and causing expensive damage.
Rake Your Leaves
If you don’t collect the fallen leaves in your yard, you could be looking at an unwanted case of snow mold on your lawn after everything thaws in the spring. Instead of bagging the leaves and sending them to the landfill, use your mower to mulch them. They’ll make great fertilizer for your lawn. It’s a great time to prep your lawn for winter, too. What you do now can make a difference in a few months.
These five steps are just the basics to get your home and lawn through a New England winter. Massachusetts is likely guaranteed to get measurable snow and freezing temperatures in the months ahead. A little bit of preparation will help you and your property survive the extremes without expensive damage or high utility bills.