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’Tis the season of freezing walks outside and scraping ice off the car windshield – Winter is Coming – and Western New Yorkers know it will be here to stay for a long time. If you’re new to the area, be prepared to bundle up for the months ahead, as our winter season typically lasts until late Spring. Continue reading for home tips and recommendations to prepare your place for the long winter ahead. Stay warm! 

Check Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Smoke Detectors:

Press the test buttons on all home detectors to ensure they’re working properly. How do you know when it’s time to change your smoke detector batteries? You’ll likely notice a high-pitched chirping noise coming from your smoke alarm when it’s time for the batteries to be changed. However, it’s better to change your batteries in your smoke detector before that noise occurs. It is recommended to change the batteries at least twice a year (or every 6 months) 

Save Energy

There is no need to keep your home toasty if no one is there. Adjust and lower your thermostat temperature when you leave for work, and especially for long vacations. This will help reduce spending unnecessary money on high energy bills. Other ways to cut your energy bill include:

  • Clean Air Filters: Clogged air filters limit proper air flow, and cause the system to operate inefficiently. It is best to check, clean, and repair air filters every 30-90 days.
  • Check for Blocked Vents: Blocked vents require up to 25% more energy to distribute air. Do a walk through your home and check to see if there are any vents that may be blocked by furniture. If so, be sure to move the item to a different location
  • HVAC Maintenance: If you think your system is running inefficiently, this will greatly increase your energy bill. Schedule a request to have your heating system tuned-up. repaired, and upgraded if necessary. 

Don’t let your pets outside for too long

Even though dogs and cats have fur coats, that doesn’t mean they don’t get cold outside, especially in the frigid conditions here! Make sure you are watching your pet outside and not leaving them alone outside for longer than 15 minutes.  

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Unfortunately, frozen pipes and pipe bursts are a common occurrence in winter weather. You can help reduce this from occurring by doing the following :

  • If the temperature drops below freezing (32 degrees) turn all faucets in home to a slow drip to keep water flowing. This helps water run through the system and prevents the line from freezing. 
  • Opening cabinet doors can also help, as it allows heat to travel into the walls and prevent your pipes from freezing and possibly bursting.  

Stay Warm

Although the weather outside will be freezing, you can still make your home / apartment warm and cozy. Stock up on items like mugs, slippers, heavy blankets, soups, and hot drinks to stay warm and comfortable in your home. Hibernation season is upon us, and it’s a great time to start a long Netflix series to binge. Or, take a break from the technology. Some ideas include: 

  • Play board / card games
  • Do a puzzle
  • Read a book series
  • Learn to Bake / Cook 

Prepare an Emergency Kit

You never know when a snowstorm decides to hit us in Western New York. It’s best to be prepared for this by having the following items ready and stored in your home:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water
  • Matches
  • Portable cell phone charger
  • Non-perishable food / snacks
  • Blankets

With these tips, you can stay safe, warm, and comfortable this winter season in Western New York!