New England’s winters are legendary. Nor’easters pound the coast and the eastern half of the state with high winds, snow, freezing rain and sleet. Icy winds and heavy snow blow in from the Great Lakes to blanket western and central Massachusetts. No matter where you live in the Commonwealth some kind of nasty winter weather will get you sooner or later. And that’s why it’s so important to batten down the hatches and make sure your home is prepared to weather the winter weather.
Why prepare your home for the winter season?
There’s no question that winter weather can wreak havoc on any home, regardless of style, size, or age. Winter winds can tear off shingles and siding. Heavy snow, freezing rain, and melting can create ice dams that cause leaky roofs. Freezing and thawing can damage structural elements and expose your home to even more problems.
To help prevent all these things, it’s important to assess your home, inside and out, fix the minor issues that you feel comfortable with and hire a contractor to take care of the rest. For example, check your attic for proper insulation – if excessive heat is escaping through your roof, snow melt can pile up on the edge of your roof, freeze, and create the aforementioned ice dams. Applying appropriate insulating materials to the proper depth and coverage will significantly reduce heat loss and help prevent troublesome ice dams.
Loose shingles, shutters (if you have them), and gutters are all vulnerable to extreme weather. To avoid problems, make sure all loose elements are properly secured or, if necessary, replaced.
Fall and winter preparedness checklist
Fall is the perfect time to start preparing for winter weather because it allows you to take care of a lot of the outside work while it’s pleasant. For your convenience, here’s a checklist that will help you get started early in the season and be ready by the time the snow flies.
Give your lawn a final mowing and a good raking to remove summer’s dead organic material; over-seed if needed to ensure a lush, green lawn come spring.
Lawn core aeration will help draw water and oxygen down into your lawn to help root systems and give grass seeds a place to take hold.
Have your lawn irrigation system blown out and winterized
Winterize lawn care equipment and put away summer recreational items to make room for winter equipment
Shut off and drain outside faucets
Check outside of your home for possible rodent entry points and have them sealed as needed
Check your foundation for cracks that can cause basement leaks
Have your heating system checked and serviced
Check your smoke and CO2 detectors
Have a home energy audit conducted to minimize heat loss, especially an older home
Check trees and trim any branches that overhang wires or pose a risk to your house
Order firewood or pellets if you heat with a wood-burning or pellet stove
Have your chimney and gutters cleaned
Check windows and sills for leaks and make necessary repairs
Power up your snowblower and get it tuned if needed; buy 89 octane fuel for it to be ready
Arrange for or confirm a snow removal contractor if you need one
Fire up your generator to ensure operation if you haven’t been doing so regularly
Buy ice melt for your sidewalk
Buy snow shovels and scrapers, if necessary
Many areas of New England are prone to power outages during winter storms. To minimize inconvenience, you should have an emergency kit prepared, based on the size of your family, that includes:
Minimum 3-day supply of water and non-perishable foods
Cookware and portable stove, if appropriate
Flashlights and fresh batteries
Extra winter clothing
Portable charger(s) for wireless devices and cellphones
Pet food and medicine
How to get help preparing your home for the fall and winter
Winter’s serious business around here. The storms are getting stormier and little problems can quickly become big ones. If you don’t have the time, energy, interest, or ability to assess and prepare your home for whatever the season is going to throw at us, it’s important to partner with someone who can.
Ideally, you should hire a home maintenance company capable of handling most, if not all, of the tasks and troubles that you might face. You’ll sleep a lot easier knowing that you’ve got a trusted partner who will respond quickly and effectively to handle whatever issues arise.
Start by having them complete a full home assessment to spot potential areas of concern, inside and out. An experienced professional with a trained eye can spot things that you might not notice and take early action to remedy small problems before they become, larger, more expensive ones. The modest investment you make now in taking this kind of preventative action can end up saving you substantial money in the long run.
Choosing to work with a reputable, full-service home maintenance company is not only a smart move to help you prepare your home for winter, it also offers benefits year-round. As we trade one season’s potential problems for another’s, the right home maintenance partner will provide safety and comfort for you and your home that’s priceless.