As one of Aesop’s fables reminds us, the ants worked hard to prepare for winter while the grasshoppers played. And when winter came, the ants were cozy and carefree, but the grasshoppers struggled to keep warm and find food. When it comes to winter preparation this year, will you be an ant or a grasshopper? To avoid last-minute panic, costly repairs and a miserable winter, you might consider adding these steps to your Fall preparations for a carefree, winterized home.
Yard and Garden:
1. Aerate your lawn, fertilize and reseed where needed.
2. Remove annual flowers, trim dead branches from trees and bushes, and mulch to protect plants.
3. Plant bulbs so the first signs of Spring will be right in your own back yard.
4. Blow air through the sprinkler system to remove any water. Check for any damaged sprinkler heads or broken lines.
5. Drain and bring in any outdoor hoses and shut off exterior faucets.
1. Empty the lawn mower’s gas tank or add a gas stabilizer.
2. Add new gas and oil to the snow blower and replace spark plugs as needed.
3. Check your inventory of shovels, salt, and snow brushes.
4. Replace damaged or missing weather stripping at the bottom of garage doors.
5. Clean the garage to make room for storage of bikes and patio furniture. Make sure to clean up any pet or dry food spills so as not to invite the mice inside.
1. Check roof for any damage and repair the source of leaks before they get worse.
2. Clean out all gutters to allow for water to flow freely.
3. Bring patio furniture indoors or cover for outdoor storage.
4. Replace screens with storm windows, caulk and weather strip around doors and windows.
5. Change exterior light bulbs for safety during long, dark winter nights.
1. Test sump pump and battery backup. You will be happy you did when the Spring thaw comes.
2. Have the furnace professionally checked for maintenance so as not to be without heat this winter. Change filters on heating unit and humidifier.
3. Place new batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
4. Reverse ceiling fans to run in a clockwise direction to pull the warmer air off the ceiling.
5. Call a service to clean out ductwork for better air quality this winter.
Stock the Pantry:
1. Remove expired items from medicine cabinets, the refrigerator and pantry.
2. If you have a well and septic system, make sure you have bottled water on hand in case of a power outage.
3. Prepare for the winter cold and flu season by stocking up on tissues, cold medications and lip balm.
4. Fill the pantry with your family’s dinnertime staples for those nights that you don’t want to go back out in the cold to pick up something for dinner.
5. Be sure to keep plenty of pet food and supplies on hand, too.
Stay Safe and Warm:
1. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, call a chimney sweep to check it for buildup and blockages.
2. Order a fresh cord of wood to have on hand before the chilly nights approach.
3. If you have a generator, make sure it is in working condition. Replace oil, spark plugs, and air filters, if necessary.
4. Check all fire extinguishers for damage, pressure, and seals. Place in an accessible area.
5. Stock up for power outages. Be sure you have plenty of batteries, flashlights, and candles on hand.
Don’t Forget Your Car:
1. repare to make the switch to winter tires soon (put them on about two weeks before snow is expected).
2. Change your oil and filters, replace the wiper blades, and refill all the fluids.
3. If necessary, give the car a nice coat of wax to protect the paint and metal from winter’s cold and snow.
4. Add rubber floor mats to protect the car interior from wetness and salt.
5. Stock the car with winter emergency equipment such as blankets, hats and gloves, a shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, and extra food and water.
Pam is a freelance writer, and a mother of three. She considers herself more ant than grasshopper when it comes to winter preparations.
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