Calling all procrastinators! With our relatively mild winter so far, winter preps may have slipped down your to-do list. January, however, typically sees significant snow and freezing temperatures even in milder areas of the Northwest. If you haven't yet prepared, now's the time to get ready before a wintery blast catches you by surprise.
Test yourself. Can you say "Done!" to these top-10 winter-preparedness chores?
□ 1. Cleaned my gutters, ensuring water can flow freely instead of creating ice dams after a hard freeze that could force meltwater under shingles and into walls.
□ 2. Insulated exposed pipes and disconnected my garden hose from the outside faucet and covered it with a foam hood. That reduces the chance that trapped water could freeze and burst the pipe, leading to an inside-the-wall leak when the pipe thaws.
□ 3. Had my chimney professionally cleaned (once a season or, if used infrequently, after a half cord of wood is burned) to prevent chimney fires.
□ 4. Had my dryer vent cleaned to ensure the 25% of lint that my lint trap misses hasn't built up in the hose, creating a potential fire hazard.
□ 5. Bought deicer and a snow shovel so I can clear walkways, stairs and sidewalks.
□ 6. Prepped my freezer to detect food spoilage after a power outage with a "quarter in a cup" thawing indicator.
□ 7. Stocked up with firewood and nonperishable food in case a power outage leaves me in the dark or a snowstorm hampers travel. Also, I've built up an emergency supply of prescription medications by refilling as soon as allowed by my pharmacy/insurance so I'll always have a few extra days' worth of medication on hand.
□ 8. Switched to winter tires if my driving habits and conditions in my area require them.
□ 9. Made an emergency kit for my car with supplies in case I get stranded in the snow. I also keep my gas tank at least half full and have tested my antifreeze to make sure it's not mostly water (a 50:50 mixture is best).
□ 10. Scouted my snow routes to avoid hills and made alternate arrangements in case I can't get out (or others can't get in) for usual errands, appointments and services.
How did you do? If you're feeling good about your preparations, here are some fun ideas to help you enjoy the next snow day.
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