Preparing for Winter

Q:

With the holidays coming up I realize that winter is just around the corner. This is our first year in our new Vashon home and we don’t know what to expect for weather. Are there special things we should be doing to get ready for winter? We’ve always lived in cities and just don’t know what we should be doing now that we are out in the country.

A:

 

Rural living is different than being in a city, although some preparation for winter is good no matter where you live. Here are some hints I have offered over the years that might be helpful.

  1. Clean the gutters as soon as the trees have lost all their leaves. Major damage can occur if water from rain and snow can’t be discharged through gutters.
  2. Have your furnace serviced. That should include filter changes and cleaning. If you have a gas or oil furnace, the flame should be adjusted for more economical and efficient operation.
  3. Collect garden tools and roll up hoses to store over winter. Hoses can break if they still have water in them when we get a freeze and tools can rust if left outside during winter months.
  4. Cover garden beds with mulch to protect them from freezing.
  5. Bring tender hanging planters and potted plants into indoor space.
  6. Prepare emergency “away” kits for everyone in the family in case you must vacate quickly due to an extreme weather event.
  7. Be sure outdoor lights, especially motion sensor types, are working properly.
  8. If you have a wood stove or fireplace have the chimney cleaned. That is very important. Creosote build up is a major cause of house fires.
  9. Be prepared for power outages. Have flashlights handy everywhere in the house and be sure to have battery powered lights available and stock up on batteries.
  10. Clean off outside steps and decks to prevent slipping on rotted leaves.

Other than those things, enjoy the winter! Remember that we need winter rains to keep our lovely island green. I wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

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