Safe Harbor Realty
Karen Ann Martin, Nicole Martin Wood
Safe Harbor Realty~ Karen Martin, Nicole Martin Wood

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9 Winter Home Maintenance Tips 

 There are things you can do to prevent damage to your home this winter. If you’re looking to prep for winter, we have you covered. Here’s our winter home maintenance checklist to get you started.
 Winter storms can take down trees or even structures, but there are other risks as well. For example, when water freezes, it expands with great force. Preventing your home from this type of damage is what is important
1. Insulate Your Pipes
Protect your pipes: Insulate pipes in unheated areas to prevent them from freezing and bursting. Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses and shut off the water supply to outdoor faucets.
Your water pipes are not strong enough to withstand the transition from liquid water to ice. Water expands when it freezes with tremendous force that can overpower most residential pipes. To prevent this, you need to insulate them, especially at their most sensitive points, which are outside and close to it.
Wrap your pipes with insulation if they are within 5 feet of your foundation, outside walls, or if they are outside of your home, as these areas will have the highest exposure to the elements. The best part is that this insulation is extremely cheap and it could save you thousands of dollars and won’t interrupt your water usage.
Head to the hardware store and pick up some foam insulation (it will look like a pool noodle) and wrap the areas that need it most to prevent them from freezing
Save money on heating - you should also insulate your water heater. Wrapping this up will help your water heat up faster, reduce your energy consumption, and allow you to access warm water when you need it.
Anything else containing liquid water during the warmer months should be winterized by removing the water and storing it away. This includes garden hoses and irrigation systems.
2. Change Furnace Filters
This could save you a fortune on your furnace and utility bill, and it will also improve the efficiency of your heating system. Changing the filter is easy, cost-effective, and only needs to be done once or twice a year. Also check your thermostats, If you have a type that needs batteries check the type needed and be sure to have them on hand. 
3. Sweep the Chimney
When too much ash, embers, leaves, and other materials clog your fireplace, it poses a risk of chimney fires. It could also prevent smoke from exiting the chimney, meaning that it will only enter your home. You should have your chimney swept once a year to prevent this from happening.
4. Check Your Roof
Check your roof and gutters: Clear any leaves or debris from your gutters and downspouts to prevent ice dams, which can cause water to back up and damage your roof. Make sure your roof is in good condition and repair any damaged shingles or flashing.
Hiring a roof inspector is a great idea, but if you don’t want to spend that money, at least give it a thorough look while you are cleaning the leaves out of your gutters. Get up on the roof (safely) and look for any abnormalities. If you see anything that concerns you, contact a professional.
The additional weight that snow adds onto your roof puts it in a compromising position that may lead to wear, leaks, or collapse. A new roof can cost well over $10,000 to replace. Don’t underestimate the importance of checking your roof.   
5. Rotate Ceiling Fans
If you’ve never heard of this trick, it’s very handy! Heat naturally rises toward the ceiling, so during the winter, if your ceiling fans rotate backward, it will gently push cool air upwards, forcing the heated air back down to the floor.
This is an especially helpful trick if you have high ceilings, as it can be very wasteful to heat large spaces when it all goes to the top.
6. Check Your Heating System
Inspect and clean your heating system: It’s important to make sure your heating system is in good working order before the winter season. Have a professional inspect and clean your furnace or heat pump, and replace the air filter.
Make sure that your heating system is running at optimal levels. You don’t want to find out that it doesn’t work on the first below-freezing day of the season, so if you want to check beforehand, open some windows, turn it on, and check each outlet to see how they perform.
Never use your oven as a backup, makeshift heater. It is very unsafe as both a fire and carbon monoxide hazard, so do not use it as a heater or leave it open for an extended period.
7. Check Your Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are important all year round, especially during the winter. When you are running your fireplace or any other heating element, you are running the risk of both starting a fire and trapping carbon monoxide in your home.
Most smoke alarms in MA homes have sealed batteries and claim they last for 10 years.  My own experience is the Carbon/ Smoke combination alarms last 5 years, it says it on the package in the fine print. Smoke alarms that say they last 10 years usually do. If you have an alarm that does use batteries, be sure to have the type needed on hand.
8. Look Outside
Winter storms in Massachusetts can get brutal, and we’ve all seen downed trees littering the road. Don’t be fooled. They hit houses, too.
Take a look for any branches or dying trees that are in close proximity to your house, car, fence, or other valuable property. Intense wind could take out a dying tree with ease, so if you see something, either cut it yourself (if it’s an easy fix) or call in the professionals. We have a list of local contractors our clients have used in the past they have been pleased with. Just call if you ever need a recommendation. 
9. Seal Air Leaks
Check for drafts around doors and windows and seal them with weatherstripping or caulk to keep warm air inside and cold air out.
Covering your windows with clear plastic will do the most for preventing heat loss, but even sealing the cracks around doors, windows and your fireplace will go a long way. Having a professional do this will yield the best results, but using door stoppers and some insulation caulk, you could make a big difference on your own. Don’t forget the basement doors.
This will help lower your energy bills significantly, as anywhere from 10% to 50% of heat loss comes from air leaks, and it will also keep your house warm in the event of a power outage.

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What our clients are saying  

Karen was fantastic. She did a great job staging, marketing, and photographing my house. It was so great I got a fantastic offer on my house. Highly recommend her. From Karen - Eddie received $45,000 over asking price for his home. He was thrilled!

 

~ Eddie Papa

Karen sold my mom's home in Dartmouth for me everything was up front and open she did all the foot work and paper work I had no time to do . She handled all of the details perfectly she called me at every turn to keep me in the loop she helped me make good decisions that needed to be made I was so satisfied with her professional and personal skills I recommended her to friends. Sousa Family Dartmouth Ma * update from Karen- I was able to help Sue sell her home in Dartmouth MA and move closer to her son and grandchildren.

 

~ Sousa Family

We have bought & sold quite a bit of properties over the last 35 years & have had the fortune of working with some very fine Real Estate agents. We had a property for sale that didn't sell last year and Karen contacted us, telling us she could sell our property. We lived out of state and hadn't done much work on it, other than repairs & maintenance. It was in need of extensive remodeling and the septic system needed to be replaced. Karen focused on the positives in her Marketing of the property and got quite amount of interest in the property. She was relentless & must have showed that property 2 dozen times until she found the perfect match for our property. It was by far the hardest sale of the year for her, but her determination paid off. Like we said in the beginning , we have worked with some very fine Real Estate agents over the years, but none as determined as Karen. If you want your property sold, Karen will sell it for you. We highly recommend her !!!! Gordon & Janice

 

~ Gordon & Janice

" Karen worked very hard for us, Selling our home in Freetown, then helping us find a new home in Westport, We want to thank her for everything she has done to make the transaction seem easy. We will be recommending her to our family & friends." -The Edwards Family, Westport, MA

 

~ Edwards Family

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