Winter’s arrival is no surprise to New Englanders, yet many of us still aren’t fully prepared for its return. If you put in the time now to get your home ready for cold winter weather, however, you can worry less later. Here are some big things you should take care of now to winterize your home in New England and ensure a cozy and safe winter.

Protect Your Pipes

The last thing you want this winter is for your pipes to burst. Pipes that are frequently exposed to extreme cold, like pipes that run through exterior walls with little or no insulation or water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements, crawl spaces, attics or garages, are most susceptible to freezing.

Before cold weather sets in:

  • Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Insulate both hot and cold water pipes located in unheated areas.
  • Shut off the water supply to outside faucets.

During extreme cold:

  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate plumbing.
  • Let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. Allowing water to run through the pipe helps prevent freezing.

Block the Cold

Weatherproofing your home allows you to keep the cold air out and prevents heat from escaping. It will also help to lower the cost of your energy bills. Seal the cracks between your windows and doors by:

  • Installing a storm door and door sweep
  • Weatherstripping your windows and doors
  • Caulking gaps around windows

Check Your Fireplace

Have your fireplace professionally inspected before building your first fire of the season. Things like animal nests or creosote build up in your fireplace can be a serious hazard. Having your fireplace properly cleaned will help ensure that when in use, carbon monoxide buildup will not seep into your home.

Empty Out Your Outdoor Space

Cold temperatures, snow, and ice can all cause damage to furniture or equipment left outside during the winter. If possible, you should bring outside furniture indoors in your garage or basement to store for the winter. If you have a gas grill with a propane tank, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank first. Do not bring the propane tank indoors. To make sure your lawn mower works in the springtime, you can do one of two things. If there is little to no fuel in it, you can run the mower dry. If you store your mower inside in a basement, you should empty the fuel tank regardless because it could be a fire hazard. If you store your mower in a garage or shed, it’s best to fill the tank with gas and top it off with fuel stabilizer and run it for 5 minutes. For any other items that you cannot store inside, you should cover them to protect them from the elements of the cold.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Consider a programmable thermostat, which allows you to adjust the temperatures in your home, even when you’re away. If your thermostat is not programmable, you can simply adjust it when you leave and when  you return. No matter the case, it’s important to note that the minimum temperature required to make sure your pipes don’t freeze depends on your home, insulation, and the weather outside. As a rule of thumb, your thermostat should be set no lower than 55° F.

Winter is coming, and here at HIG Insurance we want to make sure everyone in New England is prepared. It is important to take a few preventative measures to protect your home through the chilly months, and we hope this guide helps. If you have more questions about how to winterize your home in New England, contact an HIG insurance agent at (508) 676-5949.