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      Protect Your Home From Snowstorms

      As we all know by now, a "potential historic winter storm" heading our way could make travel nearly impossible and dump up to 2 feet of snow to our region starting tomorrow morning until Saturday. This comes after having not see any significant snow fall in the past two years. The snowstorm is expected to start Friday morning, with the heaviest amounts dumped on the region that night and into Saturday as the storm moves through New England and upstate New York.

      A blizzard watch has been raised for the whole of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, reinstating that travel may become nearly impossible because of high winds and blowing snow. Yep, it's likely to be a wild ride -- and if you're in the storm's path, your home is in for it. So what can you do to protect your house from the wintry elements? Here are some things you can do to prepare for the onslaught of snow:

      FROZEN PIPES Don't leave your garden hoses connected. Drain and remove them, and cover exposed pipes with insulating foam covers.

      Drip your faucets. Allow hot and cold water to drip from your indoor faucets during extreme cold. The constant running of water will keep trapped water from being able to freeze.

      Use heat sources to thaw pipes. A blow dryer or space heater should be able to thaw pipes that have frozen. Keep the faucets open so water can begin to flow once thawed.

      STAYING WARM Draw curtains closed. Unless there is direct sunlight coming in, keeping curtains closed can help insulate your home and trap a little warmth inside.

      Cover or remove window air conditioners. City folk sometimes leave their window air conditioning units in all year, but you're letting heat escape your home by doing that. If you can't take them out, try to cover them with something that will seal the cracks around the window.

      Use draft snakes to cover cracks in windowsills and below doors.

      Seal any cracks on the outside of your house with caulk.

      PROTECT THE OUTSIDE Clean your gutters. Make sure there isn't excess debris in your gutters when a snowstorm hits. The extra weight could bring them down.

      Spray an ice repellant or salt your steps and walkways. (It could get you in trouble - or get sued - if you don't.)

      Insulate your plants. Add extra mulch around plants to keep them from drooping too much under snow, and cover them to keep them from being hurt by frost. Don't leave plants in containers outside.

      Drain birdbaths and fountains. Frozen water could cause damage to them.

      Don't touch the roof. If there are any roof projects you've been meaning to get to, it's not the time to do them during freezing weather.

      In the unfortunate event that you and your household does get more snow that you've anticipated, call Boston's Emergency Snowstorm hotline at 617-635-4500.

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