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Winter Propane Safety Reminders for Your Home

With the substantial amount of snow accumulation we've experienced across the Upper Valley and Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee regions, it is important to keep in mind some snow hazards specific to your home propane heating system.

According to Irving Energy, "two of the biggest risks for your propane heating system related to snowfall and drifting snow are propane or oil leaks as a result of damaged fittings and carbon monoxide poisoning due to blocked vents."

Hopefully, the most severe winter weather here in New England is through, but we all know the snow hangs around for a long time and can cause damage even after the storm has passed.

So, here are some steps you can take to help ensure your safety before and after heavy snowfalls and icy conditions:

Before a Snowstorm:

  • Mark the location of your storage tank, vent, and/or fill pipe so that it can be easily located.
  • Ensure you know how and where to shut off the outdoor propane or oil supply and any indoor appliances in the event that a problem occurs. Especially if you recently moved into a new residence, put this on your New Homeowner To-Do List...we know you have one.
  • Be sure to clear the snow from your house number so that emergency services will be able to find your home in the case of an emergency. Your house number should be easily visible on the road for emergency responders.

After Each Snowfall or Icy Conditions:

  • Carefully clear heavy snow and ice from regulators, regulator vents, piping, tubing and valves. Failure to do so can cause damage that could result in an oil or gas leak. Appliance vents, chimneys and flues must also be kept clear of snow and ice so appliances can vent properly. Again, be very careful when doing so to avoid damage to system components. Finally, carefully clear snow and ice off the top of tanks, gauges, fittings, and lines. Using a broom to do so will help avoid damaging the tank or system components.
  • Watch for heavy icicles or large amounts of snow falling from the roof or eaves that can be very damaging to a tank and system components. Safely remove these hazards from above and around your tank, fill pipes, regulator, piping, tubing and valves, being careful not to damage your system.
  • Inspect your equipment frequently. If you notice your tank has shifted position, gas or oil lines are bent, broken or damaged, or you see something else unusual about your system or appliance, turn off the main gas or oil supply valve on your propane tank, if it is safe to do so. Then call your propane supplier.

Throughout the Winter Season:

  • Test your Carbon Monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly, and change the batteries, if needed.
  • Be on the lookout for any signs of gas or oil leaks in and around your home. Although gas leaks can occur any time of year, severe winter weather conditions can make your system equipment and appliances more prone to leaks. So even if you are taking the proper precautions stated above, you should still be cognizant of the smell or indication of a leak. 

If you smell propane or suspect a propane leak in your home, follow these safety procedures (provided by Irving Energy):

  1. No Flames or Sparks
    - Immediately put out all smoking materials and pre-existing open flames
    - Do not turn on any lights or appliances
    - Do not use telephones or cell phones
  2. Leave the Area Immediately
    - Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking
  3. Shut Off the Gas
    - Turn off the main gas supply valve on your tank, if it is safe to do so
    - Close the valve by turning it clockwise (to the right)
  4. Report the Leak
    - Once safely away from the area, call 911 or your local fire department
    - Then call your propane supplier
  5. Do Not Return to the Building or Area
    - Wait until the fire department or qualified service technician determines the area is safe
  6. Get Your System Checked
    - Your propane supplier should inspect your entire propane system to ensure it is leak free before using any heating source or appliance


Propane is an efficient and versatile fuel that is safe when properly used. By being mindful of the hazards and taking these precautions, you can ensure your safety when using propane heating in your home.

Some of the above information was adapted from Irving Energy's Winter Safety article.

For more information on propane safety, visit the Propane Education & Research Council website, or Irving Energy's Propane Safety Guide.

New Hampshire Real Estate Market Data: End of Year 2014

As we look into the 2015 real estate housing market with optimism, let's take a look back at how the New Hampshire real estate market finished out 2014. The New Hampshire Association of REALTORS® (NHAR) has recently released the December 2014, year-to-date and Q4 data for the New Hampshire real estate market.

Since real estate is local, here are some of the highlights from Sullivan County and Grafton County in New Hampshire:

Sullivan County Single Family Residential Home Sales 2014

Sullivan County, NH saw a decrease in single family residential sales closings in both November  and December of 2014 compared to closings during those months of 2013. In November, we saw a 26.7% decrease (from 45 to 33) in closings compared to November 2013. Then in December, we saw a 15% decrease in closings (from 40 to 34) compared to December 2013.

The fourth quarter of 2014 ended down 12.1% in single family residential closed sales compared to Q4 of 2013 in Sullivan County. Similarly, the total year-to-date 2014 closed sales for the county were also down 12.1% to 449 compared to 2013, but the median sales price was up 5.3% to $149,500 and the number of days on market was down 6.3% to 134 days compared to the year prior.

So in spite of the number of houses sold in Sullivan County decreasing in 2014, those houses sold were on the market fewer days and sold for a higher median price.

Grafton County Single Family Residential Home Sales 2014

Grafton County, NH experienced a smaller decrease in single family residential closed sales for both the fourth quarter (4.8% down to 239) and entire year-to-date (down 5.4% to 895) of 2014 compared to the same periods in 2013.

However, we actually saw a slight 0.1% increase in median sales price by the end of 2014 ($178,750) compared to the year before. The total days on market for single family residential homes 2014 in Grafton stayed exactly the same as it was at the end of 2013 (132 days).

New Hampshire Condo Closings 2014NH Closed Real Estate Sales 2014

The total condo closings in Sullivan County were up 8.3% in 2014 compared to 2013, even though the days on market were up 17.2% to 252 days. Grafton County saw a smaller increase of 2.5% in condo closings and a 2.8% decrease in days on market to 171 days.

All of New Hampshire 2014 Real Estate Market Data

For the whole year, the entire state of New Hampshire only had a 0.4% decrease in single family residential closed sales totaling 14,208 (see chart). However, the days on market for the state was slightly down from 2013 (from 100 to 95), and New Hampshire condo closings for 2014 were up 0.3% to 3,542 from the year prior.

Your Local Real Estate Market

Looking ahead into 2015, we continue to see factors in the real estate market that make it a great market for first-time home buyers, including the improved ability to qualify for credit and to afford the down payment (Realtor.com).

Talk to our realtors at CG Shepherd Realty, LLC for more details on the local Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee real estate market to see if now is a good time for you to buy a home in New Hampshire. Similarly, those of you thinking about listing your New Hampshire home for sale, please contact our agents at CG Shepherd Realty, LLC to get a better idea of the real estate market in your area.

(Data for this article was found in the following NHAR Real Estate Market Data Reports: November 2014 NHAR Market Data, December 2014 and Year-End NHAR Market Data, Q4 2014 NHAR Market Data)

View past 2014 and 2013 New Hampshire Real Estate Market Data.

2014 Thanksgiving Activities in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region

As Dartmouth-Hitchcock nutrition and wellness coach Heather Wolfe wrote in her recent article 9 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Meal, "It is inevitable that we will eat more during the holidays. Make sure to balance the extra calories coming in by moving more calories out."

To that end, we wanted to share some great activities offered in the Upper Valley and Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region this Thanksgiving Weekend in which you and your family or friends can participate for a fun and active holiday.

Norwich, VT:

The 6th Annual Norwich Turkey Trot will take place on the Thanksgiving morning, at the Gazebo on the Norwich Green in Norwich, VT at 9:00 am. Cash, food and clothing can be donated to benefit The Haven

Lebanon, NH:

The 6th Annual Turkey Torcher Work Out will be the activity available to the public in Lebanon, NH on Thanksgiving morning. KDR Fitness is hosting this work out and food drive in the old Jr. High gym on 75 Bank Street in Lebanon. Open to all ages and fitness levels. The entry fee is 4 canned goods that will be donated to the Upper Valley Haven.

Sunapee, NH:

Sunapee, NH is hosting their 8th Annual Lake Sunapee Turkey Trot at Sunapee Harbor on the morning of Thanksgiving Day. The proceeds from this 5K run will go to the Recreation Department. Kids are invited to participate in a 1K Chicken Run, so there will be something for the whole family to do. Online registration is closed, but you can still register in person.

These are all great pre-dinner activities, but if you want something to do on Friday to work-off those extra calories, Mount Sunapee Resort Opening Day for their winter season is November 28th. There will be 11 trails open for all levels of skiing ability for you to ski-off those extra calories from your delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

Anywhere: Cross Country Skiing

Finally, there is always the opportunity to plan a Black Friday shopping adventure. This may not seem like a cardio workout, but you get a lot of exercise walking around larger stores and malls. Bring healthy snacks with you to keep your energy up and avoid grabbing 

donuts or cinnamon rolls when you're hungry. For even more steps, park further away from the entrance and take the stairs instead of escalator when you can.

Of course, your activity doesn't have to be formally organized. You can play a pick-up game of football or go for a walk on the local rail trail. With the current weather forecast, maybe snowshoeing or cross-country skiing is more likely.

Whatever your plans for this weekend, we hope you enjoy delicious food and healthy activities with the people you love.

Happy Thanksgiving from CG Shepherd Realty, LLC!

Featured Listing: 35 Greensward Drive, Eastman, NH

35 Greensward Drive
Grantham, NH / Eastman, NH

MLS#: 4340747
Price: $499,035

Enjoy golf course views and easy access to cross-country ski trails from this Eastman, NH home for sale.

This 3+ bedroom, 3.5-bathroom, Eastman, NH golf course home for sale has a superb architectural design. With walls of windows reaching up to soaring cathedral ceilings and an expansive deck, this grand home offers beautiful golf course views from both inside and out.

Listed by Carol Shepherd of CG Shepherd Realty, LLC, this home features a gracious living room with a wood-burning fireplace, built-in cabinets and shelving and an open dining area. Situated adjacent to the dining area is an open, gourmet kitchen with a granite-topped island and large walk-in pantry.

This home has a great floor plan for entertaining, and the floor-to-ceiling windows offer plenty of natural light and lovely nature views. Each bedroom has a bathroom and each level has its own living area, ideal for extended family and/or house guests.

View interior photos of 35 Greensward Drive, Grantham, NH.

Finishing out the first floor is a convenient half-bath, laundry, and master bedroom suite with a bathroom, which includes a double vanity, and sliders to the back deck. The deck can also be accessed via french doors in the living room and through the screened-in porch off the dining area.  

The second floor offers two bedrooms, another full bath, family room/media room, and large cozy loft area overlooking the fairway through the living room windows. The full, finished, walk out lower level features a great room, possible fourth bedroom, the third full bath and storage space.

All this situated on just over half an acre on Eastman Golf Links.

Call Carol Shepherd at (603) 568-0880 or email Carol@sheprealty.com for more information about 35 Greensward Drive, Grantham, NH.

New Listing: 30 Robin Lane, Eastman, NH Home for Sale

30 Robin Lane
Grantham, NH/Eastman, NH

MLS#: 4393203
Price: $242,030

This Eastman, NH home for sale is designed with a Parkhurst floor plan and unique, finished lower level walk-out. Recently listed by Carol Shepherd of CG Shepherd Realty, LLC, this home has four bedrooms and three levels of living space.
 
The first floor of this contemporary home has a great room with fireplace and cathedral ceilings that opens to a dining area flowing into an updated kitchen. The dining area has sliders to the back with views of the surrounding wooded beauty of Eastman.
 
 
View more photos of 30 Robin Lane, Eastman, NH.
 
Also conveniently located on the main level is the master bedroom, a full bathroom with laundry area and a half-bath. The second floor holds two more bedrooms, another full bathroom, and a den/office space. The finished lower level boasts a spacious family room, the 4th bedroom, a 3/4 bathroom, storage area and a walk-in pantry. 
 
In addition to the updated kitchen, this home also has updated flooring throughout as well as nice interior wall colors. 
 
This Eastman, NH home for sale is situated on just over half an acre at the end of Robin Lane. Located close to the north entrance of Eastman, this home provides easy access to I-89, the Upper Valley, and the whole Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region. 
 
Eastman is a private, four-season recreational and residential community with a 2-mile long lake,  18-hole championship golf course, several tennis courts, a fitness center, cross-country ski trails and much more.
 
To find out more about Eastman and 30 Robin Lane, Grantham, NH, call Carol Shepherd at (603) 568-0880 or email Carol@sheprealty.com
 
CG Shepherd Realty, LLC: Serving New Hampshire's Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee and Upper Valley Regions, Eastman & Vermont Real Estate Buying and Selling Needs.