It's Snow Time!
A few simple items and tasks will help you stay safe and maintain things outside around the house. Here are some tips for the new homeowner about what to do for before and during snow season.
This one is obvious, we all know about snow shovels, but when was the last time you checked yours? These vital gadgets tend to be neglected and/or in the way for about 10 months of the year. Suddenly you realize you'll need one tomorrow, only to discover that the handle is loose or the edge is very worn, and then you remember how hard it was to use last year. A proper shovel makes a big difference! Mine are rather beat up and overdue for replacement, so I should take my own advice. Lots of sizes and types to choose from, so check out the options. On a related note, have a shovel for everyone and share the fun! Many hands, light work... Also, please remember the health and safety rules about shoveling snow; don't overdo it!
Another obvious one, and not really for the home, but tossing in a reminder. There are so many options: 2-in-1 or separate, telescoping or not, parallel brush vs right angle, and so on. It’s very convenient to have several – at least one stays in the house, and one for the car(s). It's really no fun to be out and about and need one that isn’t in the trunk <yep, raises hand>.
Exterior Water Supply
Help prevent any potential freezing damage to outside plumbing. Make sure hoses are disconnected, drained, and put away. Then winterize all the faucets, aka hose bibs, aka spigots, aka “spickits”. First shut off the supply valve for each line inside, then fully open the valves outside to drain all the water. If any continue dripping it's time for a plumber…
Slippery walkways, anyone? Maybe there are a few sections with settling that were noted in your inspection report, places where water can pool then freeze? Like shovels, there are different types of “deicer”: Plain sand, chemicals, eco-friendly variations, and some that are meant for specific materials, e.g. concrete, asphalt, even roofs (see below). It’s better to use something than nothing, and of course read and follow all the directions. Safety First!
This can help prevent ice dams from forming at your gutters (which may have been mentioned in your inspection report), especially on roofs with a lower slope. As you can see below, it’s basically a wide blade on a pole that helps you pull snow down from the edge of the roof so that melted snow can drain instead of refreezing and forming a ridge of ice. Be careful not to damage shingles or gutters. Do some research to make sure you’re doing it properly and safely!
Driveway Demarcation Delineation
If you happen to be fortunate enough to have a driveway that merits professional plowing, it's a great idea to mark the edges with reflective rods, aka snow stakes. They need to be installed before the ground freezes, of course, so don't delay! Put them along the driveway edges and in front of any nearby obstructions that might get hidden by a blanket of snow. They are very inexpensive, and your plow driver will be grateful. More Safety!
Stock Up Now
Don't wait until the last minute the day before a snow storm to run down to the hardware store to get all this stuff (ask me how I know). As for other winter supplies – hats, gloves, root vegetables, hot chocolate, et cetera – well, you’ll figure it out 😊