(courtesy of The Boston Globe)
The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting an “ice cold & snow-filled winter” in the Northeast, so let’s button down, bundle up, and brace ourselves and our homes before the flakes fly. Winter storms in the United States caused an estimated $3.5 billion in insured losses in 2015, up from $2.6 billion in 2014, the Insurance Information Institute has reported, so we’ve compiled a to-do list to help you prepare and persevere.
The following is a NOVEMBER TO-DO LIST. See OCTOBER TO-DO LIST in my previous blog post
■ Clear gutters and drain pipes and make sure they usher water away from the house.
■ Inspect for water stains on the underside of the roof sheathing. Also look for rot, mildew, and fungus, which would indicate high humidity levels in the attic.
■ Check to make sure the insulation is not wet or missing.
■ Make sure the attic vents are open and unobstructed. If you don’t have soffit or ridge vents, keep your gable vents open year-round to ensure proper ventilation. Look for
vermin, bird nests, and insect infestations.
■ Remove the ashes from the fireplace firebox, but have your chimney professionally cleaned and checked before the winter-heating season starts.
■ Lubricate your snowblower, change the oil and the spark plug, put in fresh gas, fill the tires, and keep extra sheer pins on hand.
■ Run all gas-powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone and store them in a dry place. When your mower’s tank is empty, carefully remove clippings from the
underside. Clean or replace the air filter.
■ Remove combustibles that are near any heat sources.
■ Set your ceiling fans to run clockwise.
■ This is the most comfortable time of year to do backyard projects that require heavy labor. Do your cutting and hauling now, but don’t cut wet wood with a chainsaw.
■ Dig and prepare new vegetable and flower beds for planting next spring.
■ If you have deer, spray the bottom 6 feet of evergreens with a repellent.
■ Cut down the garden, except for shrubs. Bag the top growth of annuals and vegetable plants and disease-prone perennials such as phlox and peonies. Add the rest to your compost pile.
■ Clean and store garden furniture, stakes, and tomato cages. Disinfect with a 1 percent solution of chlorine-free bleach.
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