Winter officially begins this Monday December 21 and listening to the way the weather reports it looks like we are in for an early start this weekend. Winter has its own special rules and if not followed carefully can make for a dangerous and costly few months.
Its best to prepare and be ready for any event and I recommend the following:
1. Winterize your lawn sprinkler system!
2. Locate and have snow shovels ready and easily accessible.
3. Have plenty of ice melt. Purchase the least toxic melt to prevent damage to pets, bird, wildlife, lawn, and plants.
4. Have birdseed handy and throw on walks and driveway. It will melt the snow, make slippery areas stable, and take care of our feathered friends.
5. If you own a snow blower have it serviced and ready to go. Grease all moving parts, have a gas can full and ready to go. If last year's gas is in the can or the snow blower then drain and discard properly. Have fresh gas at all times. Start your snow blower once per week throughout the winter.
6. Contact a local snow removal company just in case you cannot remove your own snow. Remember that wet snow cannot be removed easily with a snow blower or a shovel. Frozen snow or ice can cost you a lot more if you slip and fall then the cost of removing it.
7. Have your heating system serviced. Change filters for oil and air! Make sure your oil tank is easily accessible. Make sure deliveries are on schedule and you are not "lost" in the system.
8. Check thermostats to make sure they are working properly.
9. Make sure all heat vents are not blocked and make sure baseboard heat is not blocked; clean all around it to allow air to flow through it.
10. Humidifiers are great. Purchase a portable one or have one installed. If you already own then check humidifier and duct work and have it cleaned professionally to prevent dust and mold from circulating throughout house.
11. Have all the windows and doors weatherproofed.
12. Cover the AC condenser unit outside. Keep leaves and moisture out.
13. Have all gutters cleaned
14. Check all gutters, leaders, and drains to make sure they are working properly.
15. Check all window wells to make sure they are cleaned out and covered. You don't
want water and snow to accumulate and drain into window wells.
16. Caulk and seal all windows and doors.
17. Check basement drains to make sure they are not blocked and are working properly. If you have a sump pump make sure that it works.
18. Finish yard clean up. Leaves on lawn block out sunlight and allow mold to grow killing grass.
19. Plumbing. Insulate all exposed piping in crawl spaces, basements, attics, garages, and outside walls. Use electrical heat tape and insulate the tape. Plug in the tape when weather is extreme and the wind is a howling.
20. Cover up or drain down all hose bibs, sill-cocks, or exterior faucets.
21. Insulate. Insulate, insulate, insulate. It is cheap, inexpensive, and effective. Insulate hot water tanks, pipes, and exterior outlets, interior outlets on outside walls, switch plates, and gaps in exterior siding. Use foam, pipe wraps, blankets, and inexpensive foam sealing gasket. Not only will it save you grief and damage but it will also save you money.
22. Roof. Check your roof for missing and or damaged shingles. Check flashing in and around chimneys and other places where the roof meets a wall or projection.
23. Check your chimney, fireplace, and wood burning stove for leaks, drafts, and obstructions. Have it professionally cleaned, and check the draft to make sure it is working properly.
24. Mulch beds with 2" to protect soil and roots. Mulch provides consistent moisture and temperature protection. You don't want the soil to freeze and thaw all winter long. This cycling is damaging to plants roots.
25. Have batteries on hand for flashlights and radio in case of loss of electricity.
26. Have candles and matches.
27. Have plenty of bottled water on hand in case of emergency
28. Make sure you use windshield washer fluid in your car and not just water.
29. For your car have an ice scraper, deicer, shovel, jumper cables, tow ropes, flash light, emergency kit, and m&m's handy.
30. Cover all outdoor furniture and put away. Put away all outdoor tools, tables, umbrellas, toys, etc. not only will they last longer but if they should fly around during a storm it could damage your home and property.
31. Have a Carbon Monoxide alarm installed. Replace the battery in existing CO alarms
32. Change batteries in smoke alarms and test to make sure they work.
33. Check all cable TV connections. Make sure all outside connections are not weathered and not damaged by rodents. (This happened to me!).
34. Have good games on hand when there is absolutely nothing on Cable!
35. Check on elderly neighbors and relatives. Follow through with this list for them. Help them keep safe and secure.
Follow this list and you can eliminate most of the problems that may occur. If you need help with any of the above or would like to discuss then feel free to contact me at 631-423-2211 or email me at email@example.com.