wise, before the snow flies (or as soon as possible if
flakes have already flown), to take the time to prep
your home and property for winter. We hear often about
emergency service calls that could have been avoided if
homeowners had taken time to winterize or to hire help
to get it done.
advice is pretty much perennial. Each year, we remind
people to inspect their homes, inside and out. From the
roof to the foundation, check that everything looks
ready to weather a big freeze or snowstorm. For example,
gutters and downspouts should be clear, the chimney
should be clean and safe, exterior and interior gaps and
cracks should be sealed to keep out pests, cold air and
moisture, and you should feel confident that your
furnace is safe and efficient.
have you considered winterizing components and
accessories outside your home? Here are some things it
pays not to neglect:
system: Sprinkler pipes and other components can freeze
and break when temperatures drop below 32 degrees. To
prevent damage, shut off the systemís water supply.
Wrap the main shutoff valve and any above-ground piping
with self-stick foam-insulating tape or foam insulating
tubes. These are easily found at home supply stores.
down the controller. Most have an "off" or
"rain" mode that stops signals to the valves,
but allows the timing system to continue so you donít
have to reset the programming later.
you live where deep freezes can occur, drain water from
the underground pipes through the manual drain valve,
automatic drain valve or compressed air blow-out
methods. When in doubt about how to do it, consult a
reputable irrigation specialist.
Once temperatures hit the freezing mark and plants die,
cut perennialsí stems an inch or two from the ground.
Consider mulching with a few inches of hay, straw or
newer trees, shrubs and perennials with 2 to 3 inches of
shredded bark, chopped leaves or other organic matter.
Make sure the ground is frozen before covering. Mulching
will help warm ground retain heat, which may encourage
top growth that could later be damaged or killed.
water gardens or ponds: If leaves are still falling,
cover with netting to keep them from accumulating, since
decomposing leaves emit gases that can harm fish and
plants. Donít allow a fish pond to freeze over; fish
need a basketball-sized hole where they can get oxygen.
hoses and lines: Water left in garden hoses or other
lines and pipes can freeze, causing damage or even
bursting. Turn off water spigots and water shutoff
valves to hoses. Remove attachments like sprinklers or
spray nozzles, and disconnect hoses from water spigots
or air conditioning units.
hoses and let them drain completely. Looping a hose in a
circle prevents kinking during storage and may push out
any remaining water. If you can, store hoses indoors or
near the house, in a large bucket or on a hose hanger.