The rain has come to the Village and this means that snow is falling in the Alpine. I have started to think about pulling out my winter jacket, I have found my winter sweaters and mittens. My winter boots are by the door ready to go. Old man winter is nipping at our heels and the countdown is on to opening day.
What does all this mean? It is time to prepare your home for the winter months ahead before we get to deep in snow.
Getting your home ready for winter: 10 Tips
If you have yet to get started on your fall check-list, here are my top 10 tips for getting your home ready for winter:
Clean out your gutters – Clogged drains can form ice dams and lead to water back-ups and freezes. As you are cleaning, don’t forget to check for leaks and misaligned pipes. And, while you are up there, you might as well check your roof to make sure it is not worn out or in need of patching/replacement.
Check your heating system – Turn up the heat and make sure everything is in working order. The last thing you want is to wait too long and find out after the temperature drops that your heat is not working. If anything seems amiss, call an expert to come and take a look.
Clean out your fireplace – There is nothing better than sitting by the fire on a cold winter day so make sure that your wood-burning fireplace is ready. Call a local chimney sweep and have them inspect and clean out your chimney before you start a fire. While you are at it, you better make sure you have a good stock of firewood to get you through the season!
Check your windows – Replace old or ineffective windows or seal off drafty windows with clear plastic (you can find this at most hardware stores). Also check the caulking around any openings (windows, doors, vents, etc.) – if the caulking is cracked it should be replaced to cut down on drafts.
Inspect your doors – Take a good look at the weather stripping around your doors to see if it is time to replace it. Consider purchasing a rubber strip to run along the bottom of the door to seal it off. Make sure all of your exterior doors close properly. Keep all of your closet and cupboard doors closed, there is no reason to heat these areas unless there are water pipes running through them.
Reverse that fan – Did you know that reversing your ceiling fan will push the warm air downward and force it to recirculate and help keep your home warm?
Check your pipes – A burst pipe caused by winter freeze is a nightmare so now is the time to take preventative steps. Look for any pipes that are not insulated or that pass through unheated spaces and wrap them in insulation.
Prep your garden – Trim tree branches that hang too close to the house or power lines, plant your spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over. Move any sensitive plants indoors or into sheltered areas.
Expect the unexpected – Prepare or check your emergency kits (one for your house and one for your car). The kit should include candles, matches, phone numbers for utility companies, batteries and/or back-up power for electronic equipment, extra bottled water and non-perishable food items, blankets, a first-aid kit, and shovels.
Do the semi-annual switchover – Pull out your snow shovels, snow blowers, ski equipment, etc. and put away the hoses, lawn mowers, and bicycles. Don’t forget to drain and turn off your sprinkler system and any outdoor taps! Extend the life of your patio furniture by covering or storing exposed items and put away and planters or pots that may crack in the cold weather.
Getting yourself ready for winter: 5 Tips
The most important step in getting ready for winter is to make sure that you are ready for the ski/board season ahead. Here are 5 things you should be doing:
Check your gear – Make sure your gear is ready for another season and, if it isn’t start your research for replacements. If you equipment is ready for another season, your skies/board will need a good tune-up to be ready for Opening Day.
Make sure your boots still fit comfortably and take them to a boot fitter if they don’t
Get outside or hit the gym to get your body ready for the season – you’ll need a little cardio, some muscle strengthening, and a little balance work. It will do wonders for your first days on the slopes.
Get registered! Want to take a course or send your kids to ski school? Now is the time to get signed up! While you are at it, check out some of the apres specials around town.