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      Your Winter Home: Make it Warm and Cozy

      The weather is turning progressively cooler, more are leaves falling every day and we’ve even seen our first snow fall! As you consider the long New England winter ahead, know that there are some easy tricks to turn your home into a comfy haven that will keep you warm and happy and protect your health.

      Nothing ruins the feeling of a cozy home quicker than wrestling with unexpected water or structural damage. There are three jobs you can do or service calls you can schedule that will help ensure your home stays buttoned up this winter:

      1. Clear your rain gutters and downspouts after the last of your leaves have fallen to eliminate the chances of pooling or leaking water and ice build-up.

      2. Trim your trees to make sure that dead or unstable limbs don’t damage your house.

      3. Inspect your basement sump pump, if you have one, to protect your basement from flooding during the November and early spring rains.

      Stop drafts of cold air from killing the cozy atmosphere of your home. According to Energy Star sealing gaps and cracks in your home is “among the most cost-effective things you can do to increase comfort”. Statistics show that somewhere between 10% and 30% of energy costs are due to air leaks that could’ve been sealed. Identifying and closing air leaks with simple methods like caulking and weather stripping will make your home warmer before you even touch the thermostat. An additional trick is to run a humidifier during the winter months. Heating systems dry out air and a humidifier puts moisture back into the air, making your rooms feel warmer and more comfortable.

      The lack of natural light caused by winter’s short days and frequent clouds can cause serious doldrums. A little cleaning and effort can make your home significantly brighter and a happier place to spend time:

      • Clean your light fixtures and light bulbs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dirty bulbs shed 30% less light than clean ones.
        Read about how to clean all types of lighting fixtures.

      • Remove and store your window screens.

      • Wash your windows to maximize the natural light coming into your home.

      Finally, a constant concern in winter is avoiding the flu. One way to boost your immunity is to reduce the dust in your closed-up home. Top of the list is to change your HVAC filter every other month to prevent dust from recirculating through the house. If you have pets, change it monthly. Another trick is to vacuum while your thermostat is toggled to “fan on.” This helps catch the dust that is kicked-up during cleaning. Let the fan run for about 15 minutes after you finish with the vacuum cleaner before switching the thermostat fan setting back to “auto”.

      Don’t let the dark days of winter diminish your happiness and sense of well-being. Use these tips and tactics to turn your home into welcomed retreat.

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