1. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested monthly and have their batteries replaced as infrequently as every ten years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all reported carbon monoxide cases occur during the winter.

2. Check Your Gutters, Drainage and Sump Pump
With winter in Southern New England comes increased precipitation. You’ll want to be sure your gutters are free of dirt and leaves and that water is able to flush through them and the drainage pathways are clear. If you have a sump pump, give it a test run by pouring water into it, observe the float triggering the on/off switch to assure water exits the basin efficiently.

3. Clean Out Dryer Vents
In the winter months, homeowners in Southern New England are likely to use their dryers more often. You’ll want to be sure built-up lint is removed from the dryer and vents.

4. Avoiding Ice Dams
As temperatures drop below freezing, ice dams can form on the edge of your roof if your home does not have proper ventilation and insulation. Ice dams prevent melting snow from draining properly and can cause significant damage to walls and ceilings. For more information on avoiding ice dams, check out this video from This Old House.

5. Seal Leaky Doors and Windows
Check windows and doors by opening and closing them. Do you notice a gap, or can you feel a breeze between the seals? If you aren’t quite ready to replace the doors and windows in your home, caulking and weatherstripping can be a temporary fix. Visit this article from This Old House on 8 ways to fix drafty windows and doors.