Here it is, November already! Time to take care of the final details in preparation for the coming winter. Here are a few suggestions to get you motivated.
If you have a swamp cooler, like we do, it’s time to drain it, cut off the water (so it won’t freeze and break the line), and cover it tightly to keep the heat in and the cold out. Several years ago, there was a very early freeze and our water line broke. What a mess! We’re careful to keep that from happening again.
If you have any little leaks in your roof, this is the time to get them repaired. It’s not hard to check for possible leaks. Get up on your roof and just look around. If shingles are loose or missing that’s a good clue. There are several products on the market to fill in small holes and make them water tight. If the possible leak area is larger, several shingles missing for example, you may have to replace the felt and shingles both. If you live in a mobile home, checking the roof is still a good idea as the shingles or surface can require attention, too.
Check for air leaks around your windows and doors. You can get rubber backed stripping to fill in any gaps. It’s amazing what you can save on your heating bill if all the hot air isn’t leaking out!
Plumbing is very important all year round! If you live in an area that tends to freeze very often, you may need to wrap your pipes. There are several ways to do this. Old newspapers make good insulation and can be secured with duct tape. You can also buy special foam padding that’s designed to keep pipes from freezing. Make sure the joints are covered, too! If you have really, really cold winters, there are special “electric blankets” made for your pipes. If your house is small enough, one or two light bulbs can do the trick as well. The bulbs produce enough heat to keep the pipes from freezing. Also, check your basement access doors. Most of them just lead to the crawlspace under the house, but if they aren’t tightly sealed you can wind up with muddy, frozen mess.
Outdoor accessories. If you have a storage shed, basement or attic, this is the time to move all the summer things to it. Barbecue grills can rust if left in the elements all winter. Even plastic or light metal chairs can be damaged by cold and rain. It’s a whole lot cheaper to store them than to replace them next spring. Any potted plants you have on your porches should be coming indoors, too. (Unless they’re seasonal and can either survive the cold or die off until spring.) Take down your humming bird feeders! If left up, the hummingbirds won’t migrate and when the feeders freeze, the hummingbirds starve. Time to empty your bird bath and fish pond, too (unless they have circulating pumps or heaters, in which case it’s time to check and be sure they’re in good working order.)
It’s time to use a good fertilizer on your lawn. There are several brands, specially designed to be applied in the early winter for a better spring lawn. Hoses can be rolled and either stored or hung on an outdoor hook to prevent freezing and breaking. The outdoor faucets need to be covered with a waterproof insulation. Gardening tools should be kept in a dry place with easy access. You’ll still have leaves to rake for awhile yet (depending on the trees in your yard and neighborhood, of course.
A little planning and prevention can spare you lots of expensive aggravations later on.