As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, I begin to mentally prepare myself for what is ahead this winter. After a mild winter last year, you just know we’re going to get hammered with the white stuff and cold temperatures.

The Farmer's Almanac is forecasting a winter full of below-average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation, roughly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England. The coldest temperatures will be over the Northern Plains and on east into the Great Lakes.

How should you prepare for a cold and snowy winter? 

  1. Get your home heating system inspected. I just made an appointment to do this in mid-October. Using a qualified technician is the best way to ensure your system is in tip-top shape for the cold months ahead. They can check and clean your ducts, replace filters, or in my case clean them. This will also improve your heating systems efficiency.
  2. Clean your gutters. I learned very early on that neglecting gutters is a big no-no. My gutters and drains went too long, and it caused damage to my garage roof, it warped the door, etc. Cleaning your gutters will help with ice blockage and drainage from snow on the roof. This is especially important if you have trees near them. Be sure to get those leaves out of your gutters so water can properly move through them.
  3. Replace smoke and carbon monoxide batteries. This is a simple way to ensure the safety of your family. While you’re at it, make sure your flashlight batteries are replaced too.
  4. Disconnect hoses. Here’s another thing I never really thought of until a friend of mine told me that I should disconnect my garden hose from the side of the house. It makes sense because water will freeze in the house and could back up in pipes and cause them to burst. I also turn off the water valve that leads outside for my faucet.
  5. Fertilize for winter. I admit I do not and probably won’t do this step, but if you are someone who loves your lawn to be the best in your neighborhood, it’s a good way to help it stay healthy during the hard winter snow and cold.