Summer in Maine is far from over and thinking about winter in August may make you cringe! However, if you have lived in the northeast for any length of time, you probably know the importance of preparation. Ensuring that your home, garden, and automobile are ready for winter weather can be overwhelming and costly in the fall. By starting early, you can spread the time and cost of preparations throughout the late summer and fall.
Batten Down the Hatches
There are several simple and inexpensive things you can do to help keep your fuel costs down such as to apply caulk around windows and replace tired weather stripping around doors. You can also hang heavy drapes or fabric over windows to keep cold drafts out and the heat in each night. Be sure to schedule a furnace tune-up and filter change with your utility service provider. Quite often, this can be done for free, and will make your furnace run more efficiently.
If your home needs more extensive work to become energy efficient, state and federally subsidized, low interest loans such as PACE and Powersaver are available for making qualified whole house energy upgrades. Visit efficiencymaine.com to find out more.
If you use wood as a primary source of heat, ordering early could save you money. If you have a dry space for storage, pallets of compressed wood bricks can be delivered to your home already stacked for around the same cost as cord wood.
Avoid braving overcrowded stores with empty shelves just before a storm and put together your storm provisions now. Fill a box or bag with items you may need in a power-outage such as batteries, energy efficient LED flashlights, and nonperishable foods such as peanut butter, crackers, raisins, and canned goods.
Put the Garden to Bed
You can purchase perennials at a great discount from many garden centers and nurseries at this time of year. Planting them now can give roots time to establish before the spring. Covering beds with mulch doesn’t have to cost you a penny. Use dry raked leaves from your own yard to protect and nourish your gardens for the winter. If you have a large area to mulch, contact a local wood cutter or landscaper to purchase what you need. You may find significant savings!
Winter is No Time to Break Down
Schedule a tune-up with your mechanic to ensure your vehicle is running smoothly. If you do not own a cell phone, consider purchasing a prepay phone. They are fairly inexpensive, you only need a few minutes to call for help if you need it, and you can call 9-1-1 even if you do not have a service provider. Also, consider refreshing your defensive driving skills. The AARP Driver Safety class features a segment on winter driving, and completing the course may qualify you for a discount your auto insurance. Other restrictions may apply. Consult your insurance agent for details.
An ounce of prevention now could make for a safe and happy winter later.