If you braved the unusually rough Tri-Cities winter with us last year, then you may be among those who find the prospect of surviving another winter a little chilling. You may be plotting your escape to a warmer climate, but unfortunately, your home is going to have to stay put and tough it out. Which means there’s no escaping it: it’s time to prepare your home for the season. But don’t worry! Readying your home for winter doesn’t have to be a daunting task. We’ve gathered together a few tips that can help.
Winterize Your Sprinkler System
If you haven’t already, you absolutely need to blow out your sprinklers. There are many local businesses that will do it for a very reasonable price. You may even be able to do it yourself. No matter how it gets done, it’s very important. Your sprinkler system is a big investment. If those pipes freeze while there is water in them, they’ll crack, and they will have to be replaced—which also means digging up your landscaping. This is not something to procrastinate on!
Pack It Up
Don’t worry; patio season will come again. For now, though, it’s definitely over, and it’s time to take it all down.
- Bring in those patio cushions!
- Cover up or store any outdoor furniture that you don’t want exposed to the elements.
- Cover up your grill.
- If you have potted plants and you want to keep them alive for next year, bring them inside.
- If you have kids, have them go around the yard and check for any toys before the snow comes and buries them. The same goes for dog toys and yard tools.
This is one of the easiest steps, but it’s also an easy one to just keep putting off, so do it while you’re thinking about it. It won’t take too much time, and it will really extend the life of your belongings.
Inspect Your Home
The best time to catch any issues is before they become real issues.
- Check for drafts around your doors and windows. Replace weather stripping or caulk as necessary.
- Make sure the roof doesn’t have any missing or broken shingles.
- Clean out any fall foliage that has collected in your gutters and downspouts.
- Check and make sure your foundation and your stucco look good. If there are any cracks, the cold will only make matters worse, so it’s best to catch them now.
- Check that your smoke alarms are all working.
- If you have railing on your deck or elsewhere, make sure it’s not loose. When it gets icy out there, you’ll want to know that what you grab onto is secure.
- Check all pavements for cracks larger than 1/8 inch wide.
- Make sure your gas fireplace is working—you don’t want to miss out on cozy evenings by the fire!
Buy Ice Melt Now
Remember last year when none of the stores could keep ice melt on the shelves? Go out and buy some today. Don’t wait until the ice hits, and you’re forced to call around frantically, trying to find a store that still has it. But please, be courteous to others. There is no need to go out and buy every last bag of ice melt in Pasco, Richland, and Kennewick. Just take what you need. That way, you’ll save space in your garage, avoid dirty looks in the checkout line, and ensure that there’s enough to go around!
It’s Chore Time
Winter definitely frees us up from a lot of yard chores, but before you can enjoy your freedom, there’s a little work you have to put in.
- Continuously rake leaves for as long as it takes. It can seem endless and frustrating, especially if they’re your neighbor’s leaves that keep blowing into your yard, but you’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have piles of rotted leaves ruining your grass in the spring.
- Clean and organize the garage. That may not sound like fun, but you know what’s even less fun? Shivering in an unheated space with a concrete floor, frantically searching for your snow shovel. Then, when you can’t find it, you go out to buy a new one, and all the stores are sold out. Just organize the garage instead! Arrange it so that all the winter items are in easy reach, and the paraphernalia of summer is stowed where it won’t be in the way.
- This has nothing to do with your home, but while you’re organizing that garage, if you come across an ice scraper, put it in your car. Sure, you scrape your windshield before you leave in the morning. But if we get freezing rain (and we always do), you’ll be really glad to have it with you at some point.
Those are just a few of the basic things you’ll want to do to prepare your home for winter. There are a lot of other resources online that can give you more suggestions, including our homeowner’s corner, where you can download a maintenance manual. Just remember: the more you do to prepare, the more you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the season, confident your home can handle it.