Now is the time to prepare your home for the winter cold. The Old Farmer’s Almanac was right on with its forecast for our area last year and is predicting a cold and drier than normal winter for us this year. After last year’s ice storms, drier sounds good, but even still, snow is in the forecast for three occasions in January and February. As we saw, all it takes is one ice storm to wreak havoc with trees and power lines.
Prepare for winter now while the weather is still warm. You have more time to do it right, and the supplies you need are in stock now. You also have more hours of daylight now than you will have in December or January to get the job done. Why wait until the frigid winds of January are howling to wrap those pipes.
1. Take precautions with outside water sources. Evaluate how you will use water outside this winter. If you won’t be using those water hoses, bring them in the garage. Even if they are drained of water, exposure to sunlight and temperature extremes will cause them to deteriorate faster.
Wrap any exposed pipes and cover outdoor faucets. If you have just a faucet outside a crawl space wall, an easy way to cover it is to wrap the faucet with a plastic grocery bag and slide a Koozie over it. The thick foam ones work best. Plus, if you need access to the faucet, you can easily access it and replace the covering.
2. Keep the gutters cleared of pine straw and leaves. Wet leaves and pine straw add weight to the gutters and block the flow of water. The weight can cause the gutters to pull away from your house. Also, if the water backs up severely, it may run under your shingles and cause leaks and water damage.
3. Have your heating system inspected and cleaned before you need it. Coils should be cleaned and debris removed on a regular basis. Having it tuned up now will guarantee that it will work when you need it.
4. Have a generator installed now. If the ice storms of last year left you without power for several days, you may want to check into installing a generator. Home supply stores have them in stock and can arrange to have them installed and ready to go if the power goes out.
5. Get your chimney checked. Before you light that first fire in your chimney this year, call the chimney sweep and get a thorough cleaning and inspection. During the summer, birds or other critters could have found entry and built nests that will ignite from the heat of the fire. A chimney fire can be very dangerous. Also, the chimney structure itself needs inspecting to make sure there are no cracks to let sparks through to wood and other flammable materials in your walls.
Keep your family warm this winter by making preparations now. Waiting until Ole Man Winter arrives is not a good idea.