Winter Is Here!

By
Real Estate Agent with The Rob Edgerley Real Estate Team 010346

At the peak of summer, when my allergies are in full swing and I get that certain lethargy that only comes in 90+ degree weather, I find myself dreaming of those first gentle snowflakes falling to the ground on a chilly day in late November. They signify the beginning of mitten season, that time of year when my shelves are fully stocked with an array of teas and baking products and my radio station is permanently set on holiday music. It has always been a wonderful surprise, driving through town in Downeast Maine and looking out the window to see those first friendly white flakes swirling in the wind.

   

This year, however, winter announced itself with a 30 piece band, air horns and all. We’ve had light snowfalls in October before, but meteorologists were calling for a Nor’easter just a day after Halloween. I listened to them with a mixture of excitement and disbelief. On the morning of the arrival of this supposed nor'easter I peered through my windows, anxious to see what the weather would bring us.

 

    It was a whirling, swirling, awful mess. Driving winds whistled past my window.  The temperatures hovered around 35 degrees, meaning all the snow was melting as it hit the ground. I pulled my Bean boots over a pair of wool socks and found a scarf in the depths of my closet. I braced myself as I walked out my front door on my way to Sonny’s to celebrate the first day of Beer Week in Portland. It was about a mile from my house, normally an easy walk to downtown. As I trundled down Spring Street, blasts of wind blew snow and rain into my face. When I finally got through the front door of Sonny’s, I gasped a sigh of relief as the warm air enveloped me. It felt like I had just completed a marathon in the Arctic Tundra.  In short, the supposedly idyllic first snowfall of the year was in fact an awful mess, jarring us all into winter without warning or apologies.

 

    We were the lucky ones. Just one hundred miles up the coast, the temperature was low enough for the snow to stick. My social media accounts were deluged with pictures of the accumulating snow-piles. According to the Bangor Daily News, as many as 122,000 people in the state were without power on Monday night. Friends were asking for assistance in plowing out their driveways to allow them to get to work on Tuesday morning. It’s safe to say that few people were prepared for this snowstorm, as early in the year as it was.

 

    These unexpected snowstorms are a fact of life in Maine. If you agree to call this state home, you have to take into consideration the extreme weather that comes with it. It’s important to do everything you can to make sure you’re ready when a situation like this comes about. You also need to be prepared for the large heating bills that come with the colder months. I have outlined some tips below to make sure you and your home are prepared for the coming winter. It’s here, we might as well be ready for it!

1. Be ready for disasters.  The Christmas ice storm of 2013 left many without power for days, if not weeks. Your home should have an emergency kit with everything you might need in case of power outages. Weather.com has prepared a detailed list of items to have in your house. Find it here: http://www.weather.com/outlook/wxready/articles/id-33

Preparing yourself and your home for winter is both vital and simple. Following just a few of these steps will make this winter season much easier to get through. Is there something we missed? Let us know!

 

2. Minimize Your Heating Bills. You can retain heat and save money with these simple steps to make your home more energy efficient.

    • Use Floor Snakes To Prevent Drafts - Cold air rushes in and warm air rushes out of the space between doors and the floor. Prevent this loss of energy with a simple floor snake. (check out our Pinterest page to learn how to make your own!)

    • Caulk Gaps in Windows and Cracks in Walls - According to the US Dept. of Energy, simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weatherstripping.

    • Change The Direction of Your Ceiling Fans - Did you know that ceiling fans have seasonal settings? Fans that spin counter-clockwise create cooling breezes while fans that spin clockwise push warm air back down into circulation. Set your fans to clockwise and cut your energy bills up to 10%.

    • Turn Down Your Water Heater - Most water heaters are installed at a default setting of 140 degrees F, but most only need the water to be at 120 degrees to be comfortable. Change your default setting and save anywhere from 6 to 10%.

    • Install Storm Doors - Storm doors can minimize the loss of heat by blocking drafts. You may even qualify for a tax credit by installing one! Many storm doors and energy efficient windows qualify for these credits. Find out more at http://www.dsireusa.org.

    • Insulate Your Pipes - Pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. This can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation.

    • Change Furnace Filters - Yes it's easy to forget, but it's important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Here's a worry-saving tip: mark a monthly check on your calendar.

    • Watch Your Thermostat - For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you'll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill. Make it easier with a programmable thermostat; they are widely available for as little as $50, and the average family will save $180 a year with one.

3. Have A Plan

    • Do you have someone plow your driveway? Keep their contact information on your fridge. Have a backup plow-person’s contact information as well.  

    • Have at least one sturdy shovel on hand.

    • Keep a bag of salt and sand near your front door or in your garage. Iced-over sidewalks and driveways can lead to serious injuries.
    • Don't rely on candles to provide light in power outages. They can easily start house fires. Instead, keep several flashlights on hand (and check their batteries regularly!)

    Preparing yourself and your home for winter is both vital and simple. Following just a few of these steps will make this winter season much easier to get through. Is there something we missed? Let us know!

    (Thanks to Popular Mechanic for this list of home winterizing tips!)

     

     

    Written by: Susie Dunleavey - Project Manager for The Rob Edgerley Real Estate Team

    Comments (2)

    Will Hamm
    Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
    "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

    Hello Rob and Susan,  good information for people to be ready for the cold winter and what to do to there homes.  Have a warm day and stay inside in cold weather.

    Nov 11, 2014 11:17 PM
    Tim Lorenz
    TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
    949 874-2247

    Hi Rob and Susan

    It looks like it is going to be a cold winter for sure.

    Nov 12, 2014 12:19 AM