Here we go again! The New England winter is creeping in on us yet again. Are you prepped for any worst case scenario that could happen while on the road or hunkered down at home? Poor road conditions, frozen pipes, clogged gutters, carbon monoxide build up, and icy sidewalks are just the beginning of the winter woes that could strike this year.
Since we know so many of our clients by name and they have become like family, we want to take a moment to go over a few ways you can prep your home and car for the harsh winters we see here in Massachusetts. Use our list as your checklist to ensure that your winter goes as quickly and safely as possible.
Prep Your Commute for a Storm
Weather forecasting has come a long way since the Blizzard of ‘78, but we all remember the images of cars being stuck on Route 128 for days on end before being rescued by first responders. Chances are you won’t get stuck for days in the case of a snow or ice storm, but you should still have an emergency kit in your car just the same.
Include in your kit items like: a warm blanket, flashlights, jumper cables, de-icers, kitty litter to give your tires traction in snow, a small shovel, snacks, water, winter clothing, extra windshield wiper fluid, and any medicines you might need on hand. These items can be kept in a bin in your trunk or backseat to be “at the ready” just in case you are stranded on the side of the road or find yourself in a storm that you need to ride out.
Check Smoke and CO Detectors
Now is the time of year that everyone should be testing their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Sadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every year, at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning.
In addition, approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. A quick check that your CO monitor is working and can alert the family should your fireplace produce this unwanted gas or your furnace exhaust fill your home, you will be alerted to the odorless, colorless gas.
Protect Your Pipes and Gutters
When the temperatures drop to the extremes we can see here in the northeast, pipes often freeze and gutters can become damaged when blocked with debris and water. Take precautionary steps in the fall to protect these two vital features of your home.
To prevent frozen and burst pipes, cover any exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrap for a layer of warmth during the winter months. Make sure outdoor faucets have been drained and turned off for the winter as well. Some homeowners find it helpful to open all the cabinets in their kitchen to allow heat from inside the home to help warm pipes, especially if pipes are on an outside facing wall.
Prevent gutters from becoming clogged and potentially frozen by doing a fall clean out. Remove all leaves, debris, and branches that can clog a gutter so any runoff water can be swept away from the home. This can prevent water damage to the siding, roof, and foundation.
Protect Your Visitors from Slips & Falls
Massachusetts asks that homeowners keep their sidewalks clear of ice and snow for the safety of all. Be a good neighbor and protect visitors and family members by completely clearing your walkways and sidewalk of any ice or precipitation that could cause a slip and fall. Kitty litter and de-icing products can help.
Whether you are ready or not, winter is headed our way. Are you prepared for your commute or for keeping your family safe at home? Try these tips and let us know any others you have on our Facebook page or in the comments below.