Winter Home Survival 101

Winter is hereWinter may have taken its time coming to New Hampshire this year, but now that the snow has arrived there is no denying it is here. And Granite Staters know that winter will decide to move out of town only when it’s ready, which could be as soon as March or as late as May (remember the year it snowed Memorial Day weekend?).

Here are some tips and tricks that will help keep your house in shape and potentially save your sanity during the cold days ahead.

  • Pay attention to your pipes.

    New Hampshire has many older homes, which can mean drafts and inadequate insulation. If you take off to play in the snow for a long weekend, you don’t want to come home to frozen pipes and water damage. If you own your home, wrap exposed pipes with insulation, shut off your water before you leave for extended periods, and make sure your garden hoses are drained and stashed away. If you rent, you have less control, but you can still use prevention methods like keeping your heat no lower than 55 degrees and leaving faucets on a drip to keep water circulating while you are gone.

  • Have the proper gear.

    Transplants from warmer climates, take note! Having the right resources to handle snow removal and icy driveways can make things safer and less of a chore. We’ve all seen those “bargain” red snow shovels in the stores. This is one instance where you don’t want to pinch pennies. Buy a good snow shovel that is sturdy, ideally with a metal edge for scraping through crusty snow and ice. Good winter boots paired with some Yak Traks will make sure you don’t take a tumble, and a stash of hand and feet warmers always help. Have a bucket of salt and a spreader right by your door so you can grab it, salt the driveway, and get along with your day. It still won’t make it fun, but at least it can cut back on frustrations. (Renters—it doesn’t hurt to have some of these items on hand either in case your landlord is gone or isn’t on top of snow removal.)

  • Remember: Safety first when staying warm.

    If you need to use space heaters, make sure they are in good working order and are set up a good distance away from bedding, curtains, or anything else flammable. If you have a cozy fireplace or wood stove, make sure it’s properly maintained and that you’ve educated yourself on how to use it. Never leave a fire or space heater unattended! If you haven’t tested your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors recently or changed their batteries, do it today. They save lives.

  • Pay it forward.

    New Hampshirites are a friendly breed, especially if you live in a small town. We’re all in this winter thing together, so why not take a team approach when a storm strikes? If you have a snow blower, help a neighbor that is struggling with shoveling. If you have elderly neighbors, check in on them when it’s cold. Help dig out someone who is struggling to get out of their driveway. If there is an impromptu snowball fight, join in! Taking some time to help others conquer the snow is one of the best ways to get to know your neighbors and keep winter blues at bay.

What others steps do you take to make the winter easier on yourself and your home? Share them in the comments. If you have questions, comments, or topics you’d like to see covered, e-mail us at

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