Winter has arrived! Time to pull the heavy coats, boots, and gloves to the front of the closet and find your skis. Don’t forget to prepare for weather emergencies and get your house for the onslaught of cold weather!
Baby, it’s gonna’ get cold out there! New Hampshire and Vermont shine during the winter months when skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, and snowshoeing get people outside into the fresh air and natural beauty.
But what about your house? Winter can present some unique challenges to home owners. Here are some tips on keeping your home and your family safe this winter season.
- Have your heating system checked out by a licensed contractor. If there’s a problem lurking in the shadows of your boiler or furnace, you don’t want to discover it on the first sub-zero day of the year. While you’re at it, familiarize yourself with the gauge on your fuel tank and make a mental note to check it now and again this winter. Even if your fuel is delivered on a regular schedule, you don’t want to risk it running low. Most fuel companies will make emergency deliveries, but huddling around your house in mittens and parkas waiting for the fuel truck to arrive isn’t the best way to spend a long winter night.
- Portable generators can be lifesavers during power outages, but if used improperly, they can be hazardous due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrocution, and fire:
- Never use a generator in an enclosed space, such as your basement or garage. CO levels can quickly accumulate to lethal levels.
- Always operate the generator on a dry surface and avoid touching it with wet hands.
- Don’t refuel until the generator has cooled off. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts can catch fire.
- Run your generator at least every month, even if you don’t need it. You don’t want to get surprised when it won’t start on the day you need it.
- Having the chimney swept. Most house fires in Vermont and New Hampshire take place during winter, and the buildup of creosote in the chimney is a major culprit.
- Insulate your pipes to help keep them from freezing and bursting, which can cause untold damage to your home. Keeping the thermostat set to at least 55 degrees will help, too, as will knowing where and how to turn off the water.
- Shovel your porches and roofs to keep the snow weight from becoming hazardous. While houses are built with the snow in mind, it’s still a good idea to keep it from accumulating too much. A standing seam roof might be a good investment the next time you consider some home improvements. The snow simply glides off these roofs instead of waiting for you to shovel it!
Know how to SAFELY clean snow off your roof? Check back to learn how!