Winter is On the Way. Be Ready!
Ready or Not, Winter is Here
If you have been in denial that winter is right around the corner, it’s a reasonable assumption that you are probably not ready to welcome it. That small dusting of snow on the ground should be a hint. It's winter's way of saying, "Ready or not, I'll be visiting you soon!"
Getting caught off guard happens to the best of us. Take heart. Until we get hit with single digit temperatures or significant snowfall you still have time to get ready for the season. More good news, a warming trend is expected to move in this week.
For those of us who meant well but never quite got around to tackling the fall home checklist, Mother Nature is giving
Joe Houghton us a second chance. She is nice that way sometimes. Here are the fundamental ways to prepare for the worse that winter can throw at you.
Prepare Your Home for Winter
Here’s what to do.
- Gutters: remove leaves and other debris. Don’t forget to check for leaks while you're up there.
- The roof: Inspect for loose shingles and leaks.
- The furnace: have a professional inspect, clean and tune that baby up for winter. Having it stop working in January in the middle of a deep freeze is not on anyone’s bucket list, trust me.
- Remove window air conditioners and store for the winter.
- Conserve energy and lower utility bills by weatherstripping the windows and doors.
- Have the snowblower tuned up and be ready for the first significant snowfall.
- Stock up on ice control products for walkway and stair safety. Having someone take a spill on icy winter sidewalks or stairs is bad winter karma.
- Schedule a chimney inspection and sweep. File this one under an ounce of prevention. A chimney fire is another of the things, not bucket list worthy. Enough said.
Getting your home ready for winter is step one. You should consider cold weather options for your car as well. It’s best to think about this is before you get stuck in a snow bank or you are out in a blizzard and can’t get home.
Here are the items you should have in your car to be ready for anything this winter.
Winter Car Emergency Kit
- Jumper cables are self-explanatory.
- Blankets if you are stuck and waiting for a tow truck. It could take a while and seem like forever when you are shivering in a cold car.
- An extra pair of gloves (saved me many times when I forgot mine)
- A shovel is an essential requirement.
- Window ice scraper. We get lots of ice and snow on windshields and a scraper beats using your hand.
- A bag of sand or kitty litter. Along with the shovel, this is going to be a blessing if you are stuck.
- In addition to your winter emergency kit, make sure to check the condition of your battery and tires. It's never good to have tires with worn treads but especially bad in treacherous winter road conditions.
These Items Not Just for Winter
- Bottled water. Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall it is better to be over-prepared than thirsty.
- Nonperishable food is a good thing to have in the car because you may need quick energy. Protein bars are an excellent item for this reason.
- Basic tool kit should be a given no matter what season including winter.
- A cell phone charging cable is one of those items you might not miss until you do. When it’s winter and you are stuck in the middle of nowhere this cable could be your lifeline. It will be welcome any time of year if your car breaks down.
A Couple of Last Winter Suggestions
It will serve you well to keep your cell phone charged.
Getting stuck in the snow is a common Minnesota event in winter. Being prepared with a full tank of gas will allow you to keep the engine running and the heat going while you wait for assistance. I learned years ago not to let the gas gauge get below half during the winter season.
And this. Keep your home warm enough to make sure pipes don’t freeze. Been there and done that a couple of times and it is not fun.
Keep in mind that winter can be aggressive and relentless. In other words, it gets darn cold here! Dress according to the temperatures. Make sure you wear a hat, scarf, and gloves, at least on the coldest days. Hyperthermia and frostbite are not things to take lightly.
Last but not least, don't forget to enjoy the unique natural beauty of Minnesota in winter. So get out the winter coats, boots, hats, scarfs, and gloves. Sharpen those ice skates, dig out those hockey sticks and pucks, and wax those skis. The Bold North awaits! Bring it on!
As always, thanks for reading.