Winter is coming: Get your home ready now
October 19, 2011
By Sebastian Moraga
So winter’s coming. That means imitating squirrels and starting to stock up on stuff for the cold months ahead. And you better start now, right?
In some aspects, it makes sense to winterize your home while winter is still a few weeks away and you can step out onto your front yard without fearing mud up to your ankles or a fall on the ice.
But while starting early is recommended, it’s not mandatory for everything.
Bryan Woolsey, co-owner of Snoqualmie’s Carmichael’s True Value hardware store, said good winterizing tasks include insulating windows and doors, protecting pipes from freezing, and blocking underneath the house.
“The stagnant air under the house actually helps keep pipes warm,” he said. “Of course, you don’t want stagnant air there continuously because it will make things rot.”
The solution, he added, is blocking the cold air to keep it from blowing the warm air out and freezing the pipes.
Cardboard, insulation and Styrofoam can be used to block the cold breezes.
Woolsey said homeowners can tackle most of these tasks themselves, but recommended doing some research beforehand, for instance, for when cleaning out a chimney.
“There’s a lot of circumstances where you might need a professional to do it,” he said, “like if you have a catalytic converter in the stove.”
On the other hand, when dealing with floods, preparing months ahead of time may well be unnecessary.
“Most people won’t really prepare for a flood,” he said. “All that really consists of is getting things up above where the water is going to go. You won’t sandbag if you’re not expecting a lot of water.”
Preparing for the cold months entails getting areas outside the home ready, like gardens, he said.
“The main thing is to cover the plants,” Woolsey said. “Certain things will grow year round, but the best thing you can do is throw something over the top, like a sheet.”
Vehicles require their own brand of attention. Things like antifreeze, scrapers, windshield de-icer and windshield cleaner become essential to have before the mercury drops.
“They should check that their washer fluid is up to level,” he said. “That’s one thing that people will miss.”
If snow and mud pile up on driveways and sidewalks, that’s not the only thing people will miss. Woolsey recommended getting a pair of extra boots.
And speaking of Boots…
Cats and dogs also require special care during the winter months. A press release from the Humane Society of Seattle and King County, recommended tips as simple as hitting the hood of your car before starting it, to make sure no cat napping in your engine gets hurt once you turn the key.
“Outdoor cats will climb under the hoods of cars for warmth, so be safe and bang loudly on the car’s hood,” the release stated.
Other tips include increasing a pet’s food supply, dressing your pet appropriately — especially short-haired dogs — watching for puddles of antifreeze that may poison a pet, and providing a warm, safe spot for Spot to sleep.
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com.