Here are some lists to remind us of all the things that Maine people do to get ready for winter.
- Check your coolant and anti-freeze levels.
- Make sure you have good tires. Do you change to snow tires? Make an appointment before everyone else does.
- New windshield wipers.
- Have a decent ice scrapper.
- Put a small shovel in the back of the car.
- Bucket of sand or bag of sand from the hardware store.
- Get free sand at the dump. Bring your own five gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid.
- Flashlight with new batteries
- Put a blanket in the car.
The yard and garden:
- Put your garden to bed.
- Plant bulbs. They have to be in the refrigerator for four weeks before planting.
- Cover certain plants with mulch or straw.
- Burlap wraps on ceder shrubs.
- After the first frost, cut back the new growth on your grapes on your arbor. Raspberries can be cut back to the ground.
- Yard clean up.
- Drain the hoses. Coil them up and connect the ends to keep the spiders out.
- Drain your outside faucets. Make sure you don’t leave anything connected to the faucet. It will freeze and crack.
- Or call your yard service.
Outside the house:
- Put in the driveway stakes before the ground freezes.
- Replace weather-stripping around doors and windows to prevent cold air from entering the home and heat from escaping.
- Clean out the gutters after all the leaves have dropped from the trees.
- Clean out your gutters to prevent water damage and ice buildup under the shingles.
- Trim tree branches in your yard to help prevent power outages.
- Take down your screens.
- Storm windows if your house uses them.
- Hose off your windows and screens before you shut off your outside water.
- Stack and cover the firewood.
- Clean the Chimney. Call a chimney sweep company.
- If live on the ocean, put duct tape on the window and door edges on the easterly side of your home.
Inside the house:
- Add heat tape to exposed pipes in the basement to help prevent frozen pipes.
- Maintain your furnace to keep it running properly.
- Clear plastic film to the insulate the windows on the inside.
- Close attic vents
- Plan ahead. Plumbers and furnace repairmen are all busy the morning after the first cold snap.
- Set up your humidifier and your humidity gauge. Keep your humidity above 40%. This will keep your skin from cracking. And prevent your wooden furniture from cracking.
- Buy a new snow shovel before the first snow.
- Get your snow shovel and sand/salt all ready.
- Does your house roof need a snow rake?
- Have your snow blower and generator maintained.
- Do you have fresh gas for the snow blower?
- Have automatic delivery set up from your oil or propane company. If there is a cold snap, you don’t want to have your pipes freeze.
- Automatic delivery of propane for your generator.
- Buy stove pellets.
- Buy firewood.
- Stock the pantry with food and dry goods.
Closing up your summer home
Much applies from the other lists here. In mid October, is time to do the following:
- Hose off the windows.
- Wash out the garbage cans.
- Clean the grill and put on the cover.
- Put away the summer furniture.
- Have the furnace cleaned. Check back in two days to make sure it is running properly. Do this in the fall because the furnace man won’t remember what he did by next spring. Do you drain your heating system or do you put antifreeze the system?
- Arrange to have your lawn irrigation system blown out.
- Arrange to have the house cleaned before the water is shut off.
- When you’re ready to shut off the water, call KK&W (985-3385) and the water company will shut off your water at the road.
- Call your plumber to confirm that KK&W water company has shut off the water. The plumber will drain the pipes, blow out the pipes, and put antifreeze in the drains and toilets. Throw the breaker on your hot water heater. It should be off before draining the water supply.
- Take down all valuable paintings. Put valuables out of sight.
- Notify the post office to forward your mail.
- Prop the fridge doors open.
- Remove food from the house in order not to attract rodents.
- Pull all the electrical plugs to the appliances.
- Return your modem to the cable company.
- Let the police department know that you have left town.
- Arrange to have someone to check the house periodically.
Preparations for power outages:
- Test your generator periodically under load.
- Have fresh gas.
- Set up an emergency kit:
- Have some flashlights, candles, battery powered LED lanterns, battery powered radio, charged cell phone, kerosene lamps, water, non-perishable foods, etc. in the event of power outages.
- If there is storm and the lights are flickering, find your emergency kit so you’re not hunting for it in the dark.
- Fill up some water containers before you lose the power.
Skip all of this and head for Florida.