January's blizzard, record cold in February...it's hard to forget the brutal conditions last winter.
With such a harsh winter just barely in the past, there’s a heightened interest to make sure homes are prepared before the first snow storm strikes.
Darren Sweeney went to the experts for some advice.
If one can afford to have a professional inspect a furnace, technicians will check for leaks and make sure the furnace is operating properly before it’s put into use.
Homeowners can check or even change furnace filters themselves. Checking them to be sure they’re in working order at least every 30 days will ensure top furnace performance.
The second thing one can do is to move anything that may have gotten stored close to the furnace during the summer months.
No matter what kind of heat source a home uses, experts remind homeowners that radon and carbon monoxide detectors are a must. They should be tested regularly.
Snow blowers also need servicing.
Steve Miller of Butler Power Equipment in West Hartford says if you wait until the snow starts falling, it will take longer for repairs. "Now you have the snow coming in and your snow blower doesn't run and you have at least three to four weeks to get it turned around"
"Just because you bought a new snow blower last year doesn't mean it's going to be perfect this fall... Ethanol fuel is a horrible enemy of this equipment,” Miller emphasized.
Miller says it’s all about supply and demand and last winter created a huge demand for service and sales. Since Connecticut experienced a harsh winter a year ago, Miller expects a very busy fall ahead of this winter.
And speaking of snow removal, another important tool is a roof rake. But Connecticut residents who waited to buy one last winter were out of luck. They sold out both in stores and online.
“A roof rake is a great item to get that first 12 inches of snow off the roof to let the sun its job and melt the water,” said Joe Sterlein, store manager at Lowes.
Ice dams became a big problem in many homes last winter, which can cause water to eventually leak inside.
Sterlein says the best thing to do is buy early. “It’s a small investment; this roof rake is 49 dollars. Water damage could run thousands of dollars to repair."
Sterlein also recommends heat cables, which attach like Christmas lights. These help to melt ice on roofs and gutters.
And while you're outside clearing snow, or simply walking the dog, you'll need to stay warm. Kristen Ciarcia from Wethersfield walks her dog Grover often. Last year's extreme cold left her feeling unprepared.
"I didn't have the boots on, the warm enough coat, it was so cold, with the wind, I was totally not prepared," Ciarcia said.
And she wasn't alone.
"It was just such a long winter, a lot of the product sold out.” said Doug Cohen.
Cohen manages Mickey Finns stores on the Berlin Turnpike in Berlin. He says buying early is the way to beat the rush.
"We definitely have the inventory but if we have a long winter again sometimes we can reorder, sometimes we're not, my suggestion is to shop early and get what you need.”
The bottom line is preparation is important. Checking off items on a list now as opposed to in January will save time and money.