(MASS APPEAL) – As the colder months are quickly approaching, you may be wondering what you can do to prepare your home for winter. Joining us is Cheryl Malandrinos, RAPV President, from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Realty Professionals, to share her tips on getting your house ready for the colder seasons.

Preparing your house for the cold and dreary days of winter. What could be more fun! Seriously, though, the steps property owners take now are important in helping prevent damage and lowering energy costs.

General Maintenance:

Now is the perfect time to walk around the yard and place your eagle eye on the house and shed perimeter.

  • Trim back any overhanging branches so they are at least 3 feet away from the house and shed.
  • Once the leaves are down, clean out your gutters and downspouts, tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets, and replace any that are worn or damaged.
  • Using binoculars, check your roof for missing our broken shingles, cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes. Then remove any moss from the shingles.

Cracks and crevices can drive up heating costs and allow unwanted pests into your home. There are several low-cost ways to insulate your windows:

  • Shrink film and rope caulk
  • Install weather stripping on exterior doors.
  • Seal up cracks and holes around your home to deter pests (remember those spaces where utilities and pipes enter the house) and add screen vents that allow for airflow, but not pest entry.

Wood Burning and Gas Fireplace Maintenance:

Wood burning fireplaces should be inspected inside and outside.

  • You should have a chimney cap. It needs to be in good condition, and make sure there isn’t a nest or debris on it.
  • Repair crumbling or missing mortar and bricks, and the chimney should not be leaning to one side or the other.
  • On the inside, the flue damper should open, close, and seal properly; remove combustible materials in the flue; and repair cracked bricks or missing mortar at the fireplace surround, hearth, and firebox.

Gas fireplaces also require yearly maintenance.

  • You should inspect the glass doors for cracks.
  • Turn the gas off and test the igniter, and ignite the fire and look for clogged burner holes.

As with any form of house maintenance, your local Realtor can recommend contractors if you don’t want to tackle these jobs yourself. You can also visit houselogic.com

Sponsored by: Realtor® Association of Pioneer Valley