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Cold Weather Tips For Your Home and Garden

Winter is just around the corner and with that means colder temperatures and the need for winterization of your home and property.  Here are some areas to consider so you aren’t caught off guard with the oncoming colder weather.

 

Winterize Your Home

Home buying and selling expert Elizabeth Weintraub offers these helpful tips:

1. Furnace Maintenance: Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.  Consider switching your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.  Have a HVAC professional inspect your furnace and clean the ducts.  The more efficiently your furnace can run, the cheaper your monthly heating bill will be. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace.

2. Fireplaces: Cap or screen the top of your chimney to keep out rodents and birds.  If your chimney hasn’t been cleaned in awhile, consider having a professional come by to insure the chimney is clean and in working order.

3. Exterior, Doors and Windows: Inspect your exterior for any cracks or exposed entry points around pipes and seal them.  Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering and be sure to caulk your windows.  If your home has a basement, consider protecting window wells with plastic shields.

4. Roof and Gutters: Check your flashing to ensure water cannot enter your home.  Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.  Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.

5. Prevent Plumbing Freezes: Drain all of your garden hoses, insulate your exposed plumbing pipes, and know where your water main is in case you need to shut it off in an emergency.  Drain the AC pipes and if you rAC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.  If you go on vacation, leave the heat on and set it to at least 55 degrees.

Winterize Your Garden

Weston Miller, Horticulturist of the Oregon State University Extension Service, offers this list of things to consider as the weather conditions become colder:

1. Remove dead plants to a compost pile and discard diseased plants off site.

2. Add lime to your soil now so your vegetables will grow well next season. After liming, add a layer of mulch on the soil of garden beds and around ornamental shrubs.  Be sure to cover your cold tender perennials as well.

3. Be sure to remove winter weeds before they go to seed next spring.

4. Prune your roses to 2 1/2 feet or so to keep them from toppling over in winter winds.  Do a final pruning in late winter.

5. Clean and store your garden tools in a dry location.  Empty gas from lawn mower if being stored in an unheated shed.

6. Prune your trees while the leaves have fallen.  If you are unsure how to prune, consider hiring a licensed arborist.

 

Remember Your Four Legged Friends!

Finally, the Oregon Humane Society offers a few tips regarding pet safety.  Most importantly, as the temperatures drop, keep your pets indoors.  If your pets are strictly indoors, you can actually feed them less as they will exercise less in the winter.  If you must keep your pet outdoors, be sure to find a warm and dray area for them to sleep and feed them a little more than normal, as the cold requires more calories.  Remember, if you are cold, so is your pet!  Finally, if your vehicle is stored outdoors, be sure to slap the hood of your car loudly before starting it to awaken any animal that may have taken shelter there.

 

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Leslie Mccabe

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