How to prepare your Northshore home for winter

How to Prepare Your Northshore Home for Winter

Winter on the Northshore can feel like a wonderland. However, with the twinkle lights and hot cocoa also come freezing temperatures and inclement weather. As a Massachusetts homeowner, adequately prepping your home for winter is crucial. Being prepared can help reduce the likelihood of damage and avoid serious financial repercussions. With the official start of winter right around the corner, here are a few tips to keep your home safe this season.

Feature fireplace at the Cape Ann refresh whole home renovation project in Ipswich, MA by BLB Design / Build

Protect Your Pipes

As the temperatures dip below 32 degrees, any exposed pipe that runs along a wall or is in an unheated area, like a basement or crawl space, is potentially at risk of the water inside freezing and the pipe bursting. Not only can a burst pipe damage items in the vicinity, but it can also cost a lot to fix. The solution: insulate your pipes! You can find pipe insulation at any hardware store. Simply cut it the same length as the pipe, wrap it around, and secure it with duct tape if needed. If the pipe insulation isn’t enough, you might want to consider wrapping any susceptible pipes with heat tape before adding the insulation. Heat tape plugs into a standard outlet and comes equipped with a thermostat that will only turn on when it’s below 32 degrees.

Living room remodel in downtown Newburport featuring stone fireplace and shiplap ceiling by BLB Design / Build

Check Your Heating System

Another essential step in prepping your home for winter on the Northshore is checking your furnace, boiler, or heat pump. Heating equipment, fireplaces, and chimneys are among the biggest causes of home fires. Inspecting and cleaning your HVAC system annually will reduce the risk and ensure your system is in top shape before a cold few months. Any vents located outside the home should be kept clear of snow to prevent failure of the mechanical equipment and to keep carbon monoxide from entering your home. Fireplaces and chimneys should also be checked and cleaned. The brick periodically needs upkeep to prevent water from leaking in, and you’ll want to ensure your cap is in good shape to keep out animals seeking a warm home.

Insulate Your Home

A well-insulated home on the Northshore is a happy home. Insulating your house, particularly the attic and any crawl spaces, will keep you warm all winter and, as a bonus, will also save you money in the long run. Your energy bills will be lower, and you’ll keep your home’s heat where it belongs, in the living quarters of your home, not the attic. Insulating the attic may also help prevent ice dams from forming on your roof (another costly damage to fix).

Seal Air Leaks

Checking your doors and windows for air leaks is another essential winter preparation step. If you have drafty openings in your home, use caulk or add weather stripping to seal any leaks around windows or doors. Properly sealing windows and doors can protect your house from unwanted moisture and air leaks. Drafty homes are not only cold but can also cause your energy bills to increase. Generally, you should replace the caulk around your windows and doors about once every five to ten years. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.

Clean the Gutters

While you should clean your gutters at the start of every season, right before winter is crucial for New England homeowners. If you don’t clean your gutters, the built-up debris could cause water damage. In the winter, as snow and ice melt and refreeze overnight, this damage could cost you thousands of dollars. Water can back up against the house, damage roofing, siding, and trim, and cause leaks and ice dams. The solution is easy: clean your gutters, ensuring the water has somewhere to go when it melts to keep it away from your house. Another thing to consider is the additional weight of snow. If your gutters get too much weight on them (debris plus snow), they could detach from your home.

Living room addition at the Littles Farm whole home remodel project in Newbury, MA by BLB Design / Build

Snow covered yards look magical, but it’s important to protect what is most likely your biggest life investment. Ensuring your Northshore home is prepared for another winter season will give you peace of mind that both you and your family, and your wallet, will be safe and secure.

Looking for a professional to get your home in shape for this winter and beyond? Connect with us to see how we can help!