Wondering how to protect your property and get ready for winter?  Here are some handy tips:

 

Protecting Your Home from the Inside

  • Keep all doors and windows closed and locked at all times.
  • Change the locks when moving into a new place.
  • Secure valuables in a home safe or lockbox.
  • Don’t label your personal keys or hide spares outside.
  • Add privacy film to decorative glass on and around exterior doors.
  • Consider buying a home security system.
  • Consider reinforcing windows with safety glass or metal bars.

Protecting Your Home While You’re on Vacation

  • Double- and triple-check all doors and windows before you leave.
  • Put timers on lights and stagger the times they go on and off.
  • Check your insurance policy to see how often they specify your home should be checked while you’re away.
  • Talk to a trusted neighbor about keeping an eye on your place,
  • Lock your garage door and disconnect the automatic opener.
  • Leave a radio on and turn down your doorbell.
  • Don’t advertise your trip, especially on social media such as FaceBook, before you go or while you are away by posting pictures of what you are doing.  Save your posts until you return home.

Protecting Your Home From the Outside

  • Walk around the exterior of your home and scout out its weaknesses.
  • Keep fences, gates, shed  and garage doors locked.
  • Keep shrubbery around entrances and walkways trimmed.
  • Build a fence.
  • Keep your yard free of toys, tools, and ladders.
  • Stow expensive items like grills, cars, and bikes in the garage.  Lock the garage.
  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
  • Install motion sensor lighting around your home, especially at entrances.
  • Install large, reflective numbers on your house and mailbox so emergency personnel can find it quickly.
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • Prune trees around two-story homes.
  • Consider forming a neighborhood watch program.
  • Work with your neighbors to clean up the neighborhood if needed.
  • Always lock your car or truck.

Get Ready for Winter

  • Make sure all outdoor pipes are properly buried below frost depth or that they are adequately insulated.
  • Drain and store hoses and shut off outside taps.
  • Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and to clean and inspect heating ducts.
  • Clean your gutters.
  • Get your chimney inspected.
  • Prepare a 72 hour kit stocked with food, water, and other supplies in case of a power outage.
  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace their batteries.  Do this annually on Halloween and you’ll always remember what day you did it on.
  • Check your insulation.  Simply adding more fiberglass insulation in your attic can boost the energy efficiency in your home.
  • Wrap your indoor pipes.  Insulating your pipes reduces heat loss and can raise hot water temperatures delivered through your pipes, which allows you to reduce the heat on your boiler.
  • Winterize the A/C.  Drain any pipes or hoses coming from your air conditioner.
  • Replace your furnace filter regularly.
  • Reverse ceiling fans.  You can use your fans during the winter to keep your house warm. On every ceiling fan there’s a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the blades. Switch it so your ceiling fan rotates clockwise. That will push warm air down and force it to recirculate throughout the room.
  • Block air leaks. Drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use.  You’re likely to find drafts underneath doors and near windows.
  • Trim any nearby trees. If you have any tree branches hanging near your roof, windows, or driveways, trim them back. Snow and ice will weigh them down and possibly cause them to break.
  • Get your snow tires on for October 1st.