Your Place: Check that cold-weather outdoor gear now

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

One thing that distinguishes where I live from the place where I grew up is the weather typical of late November through late February.

In Connecticut, even in the central part, it might have already snowed a couple of times by Thanksgiving, although most likely the snow would have melted completely, except in the woods.

The daytime high there is typically about 43 degrees and the low, 25 degrees.

In South Jersey, snow before Thanksgiving is rare, the daytime high averages 51 or 52 degrees, and the low is about 35 degrees.

After 36 years in your part of the country, I consider that balmy, while the natives think that I must be balmy.

The mild weather here gives me a little extra time to catch up on outdoor chores before I have to wear gloves and a coat.

The Outdoor Power Institute suggests that we use this prelude to winter to check over the equipment we use during the cold weather — snow throwers and generators, for example — before we actually need them.

Like so:

Review the owner’s manual. Refamiliarize yourself with how to handle your equipment safely and any maintenance needs. If you have lost your manual, you can usually find it online.

Drain and change engine oil and dispose of old/used oil safely. Service the air filter and perform other maintenance activities directed by the manual.

If equipment has a battery, remove and fully charge it before storing, or to have it ready for an unexpected weather event.

Handle fuel properly. Unused gas left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale and can even damage equipment. For any equipment stored over the winter, add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart it and run it until the gas tank is empty.

Be sure to use the appropriate fuel. Most outdoor power equipment was designed, built, and warranted to run on 10 percent or less ethanol fuel.

Do a yard cleanup. Clear paths regularly.

Make sure there is space in the garage or basement to store larger yard items.