The signs of winter’s arrival can be seen everywhere. Your drive to work begins in the dark. Your drive home is the same. If it’s not too cold, there is a constant drizzle or it can downpour for days. When temperatures drop you are often greeted with a car covered with frost. It’s time to prepare your yard and home for a safe, comfortable winter season.
- Prepare Your Plants.
Fertilize your lawn and prune your trees. Applying winter fertilizer will give your yard a much needed boost in spring. Pruning trees is best in winter because they are dormant and many plants loose their leaves. Pruning in winter promotes fast regrowth in spring and makes it easier to see the shape.
- Winterize faucets and hoses.
Frozen water pipes can be an expensive repair but are easy to prevent.
- Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses.
- Turn off and drain outdoor faucets - if your outdoor faucets have an indoor valve, turn it off and then open the outdoor faucet to drain excess water.
- Protect and insulate outdoor faucets with hose bib covers. They are inexpensive, easy to find at hardware and home stores and easy to install.
If you have a sprinkler system, do the following:
- Turn off the water at the main valve.
- Turn off the automatic controller.
- Turn on each valve, including the backflow valve, and let them release their pressure.
Winter rains are heavy and constant in the Northwest. It’s critical that your gutters and downspouts are clear and working properly. If you don’t have the means or don’t want to risk a fall, there are plenty of professionals that will clean your gutters for a reasonable rate.
- Flush your water heater.
There are not many things that seem worse at the time than stepping into your shower and discovering there is no hot water? Your water heater needs maintenance just like all your other appliances. Sediment can collect in the water tank and can degrade the heating efficiency and may even cause overheating. The solution is to drain out the crud through the drain valve. There are a number of resources on the web that will show you how. Just Google, “how to flush a water heater.”
- Reverse your ceiling fans.
Yes, most ceiling fans have a reverse switch. If your fans are sucking the air up, as they should in summer, switch them to push air down, This will move the warmer air blanketing the ceiling and move it into your living space. This easy fix can save as much as 10% in heating costs.
- Service your heating system.
Your heating system gets a work out in winter. Make sure it is in tip-top shape so it won’t shut down at the most inopportune time. Change all filters and find a reputable home furnace service company to give your furnace a thorough cleaning and replace any worn parts.
Following these tips will help keep you safe and comfortable during the winter season.
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