Winter is just around the corner. With it comes the wind, rain, cold, and snow that makes fall the perfect time to prepare for it. Most people know that they should drain and remove hoses, bring garden tools inside, and plug up drafty doorways. But there are things you may not have thought about during your winterizing efforts. Here are seven things people often forget when winterizing.
1. Patio Furniture
Some patio furniture can stay outside to endure the elements, while other furniture should be put under a cover for protection. All outdoor supplies and furniture should be cleaned prior to storage. Apply a layer of protective car wax to aluminum furniture. Touch up scratches and apply a coat of protective spray paint to wrought iron. Clean plastic and bring it inside so it doesn’t get too brittle and crack. Synthetic wicker can withstand the elements but bring rattan indoors to avoid moisture damage. Anything ceramic, from pots to water features to tile tabletops, should be stored indoors. Ceramic will crack and flake in extremely cold temperatures.
Whether you have a travel trailer, motorhome, or tent trailer, be sure to drain all water from the systems. Cover the tires, or better yet, the entire vehicle. Leave absorbent pellets inside to keep the level of moisture low and make sure there is no food left that might attract rodents.
Check French drains running from the backyard to the street for any blockages. Make sure they are running freely so you don’t have back-ups during heavy rains. Get a ladder and look inside your gutters. Remove any debris in the gutter as well as the downspouts.
4. Sprinkler Systems
Where there’s water, there is the potential for freezing temperatures to burst a pipe. Once the hot summer watering season ends, winterize your sprinkler system so it is damage-free and ready to work when spring and summer appear once again. Next, turn off water valves to outdoor faucets, drain the line, and use faucet covers to keep the pipes warm.
5. Power Equipment
As the seemingly endless days of working in the yard close shop for the winter, take care of your outdoor power equipment. Clean metal blades on lawnmowers and rototillers so they don’t rust. Drain the gas and oil from machines that will be sitting for the winter. Old gas and oil can ruin an engine, causing more work in the spring.
In addition to your house, your car also needs some winterizing efforts to keep it running through the cold days ahead. Check all the fluids, especially the antifreeze. Take a long hard look at your battery. If it is nearing the date punched out on the sticker, consider picking up a new one, and replace your wiper blades before the rainy season hits. Hot summer temperatures dry out wiper blades and reduce their efficiency. Always remember to keep an emergency kit in your trunk.
Old man winter brings a variety of challenges, many of which can leave you without power. Make sure you have an alternate cooking source and backup battery power. Also, check your flashlights to make sure they are working properly before the days become short. Stock up on enough food for your family for a minimum of three days and store water that is easily accessible in the case of frozen pipes inside your home. Don't forget to store enough water and food for pets in the event of an emergency.