Prepare Your Home for Winter

Every year brings about a whole host of severe weather events. With recent storms like Sandy, we’re reminded of the importance to plan ahead and prepare our home and family the best we can. Here are five tips to prepare your home for the winter weather season.

1. Have trees and branches trimmed. Tree branches that snap due to heavy snow can block your driveway and cause damage to your home and utility lines. So work with a licensed and insured professional to scout the area around your home and trim away any trees and branches that can be a potential hazard to your property and safety.

2. Clean your gutters. Clogged gutters may cause ice dams to form on your roof. And a severe ice dam could force water that’s trying to drain off your roof under the shingles, causing water to drip into your home. Stay off ladders, though – there are many long extension tools and attachments on the market that can help you tackle this job without a ladder.

3. Get your sump pump inspected. Your sump pump system is usually the last line of defense in protecting your basement from flooding. A licensed and insured master plumber can check to see if pump components are operating correctly, drains are clear and properly installed, and the pump is powerful enough to do the job.

4. Have your heating system inspected. Your heating needs to be in tip-top shape for the winter. A licensed and insured technician should check the operation of your furnace or boiler along with your chimney and/or fuel piping.

5. Make a backup plan for long power outages. Fill a bag or bucket with the essentials to help you get through an outage – and remember that a portable or standby generator system will keep the power going if the electricity fails. I have a standby generator system that’s permanently installed, runs on propane (it can also be set up to run on natural gas), turns on automatically and can keep all the important systems in my home (sump pump, heat and electronics) operating during a short or long power outage.

Bottom line: If you invest in the proper backup equipment, you’ll have the confidence you need to make it through a big storm.