Get Ready For Winter-It’s Freezing Outside! This picture was taken from my front door right here in Southern Utah. We get ready for winter in different ways than up north, like Salt Lake City, Utah folks. They get a whole lot more snow than we get here. But we still have similar things we must all do to be ready for winter, no matter where we live. I must admit, I don’t miss the heavy slick snow storms up north.
Whenever the TV weather reports tons of snow…I am so glad I moved away from it. Or at least the real heavy snow. We get a little here, but it melts very quickly. Last winter was not the normal winter where I live. We had sooooo many neighbors with frozen pipes and ice on their north facing driveways. Yikes!
So let’s get started with my checklist to be ready for winter.
1. Check Your Furnace/Heating System
If you missed the post about changing your Furnace Filters , here it is. We just had our furnace checked out. I am a little embarrassed to say it has been about 4 years since I had it serviced. I rationalized this because we only use it three or four months out of the year. We use our air conditioner a whole lot more than the gas furnace. Pick up few extra furnace filters and store them where you will see them and be prompted to remember to change them as needed. We will all save money and wear and tear on the furnace if it doesn’t have to work as hard to push the clean air through those filters. Just so you know, as I am typing this post today I really wish I had a wood burning stove. I love, love, love the smell of a wood burning stove. Blessings to those who have one…
2. Gather Winter Wear
Place your winter gloves, winter coats, glove liners, ear muffs, hats, boots, scarves, etc. in one location so you don’t have to search for them when you see the snow falling outside. They will be clean and ready to use to go shovel snow or scrape windows. I don’t even own a winter coat. BUT I have these fancy gloves with fake fur (bought on clearance) that keep my hands so warm! I have never owned one of those bulky coats. It’s just me, I know. I have a heavy wool sweater that works great for me. Even in a blizzard of snow……..
It’s that time of year when we need to cut down our bushes if required and rake out those leaves of fall. It’s also a perfect time to fertilize your trees, lawn, shrubs, and prep your garden for next year. When I got married and lived in a cold climate I quickly learned that all hoses need to be disconnected from the faucets outside. I have helped scoop more water out of basements than I care to admit. I have seen so many flooded homes from frozen pipes. More from the outside faucet than freezing temperatures. Please unscrew your hoses….before the temperatures go below freezing. I still water my trees here in Southern Utah for about an hour a month because we don’t get the moisture like other areas in the country.
4. Get Car Ready For Winter
Check your car battery and clean the cables. Get your car anti-freeze checked, the windshield washer fluid added as needed. Rotate your tires to snow tires if needed where you live. Throw the tire chains in the trunk, with a small shovel and kitty litter or salt to help get the car out of snow/ice if needed. Emergency Car Kit If you have any of those little windshield chips…get them repaired if possible. Heat and cold can often make them spread.
5. Smoke Alarms-Carbon Monoxide Alarms
I love checking the smoke alarm batteries before they need to be replaced. I dust them and replace the batteries twice a year here. The heat seems to age batteries more in hot weather like Southern Utah. We have had to replace our smoke alarms three times in nine years. One thing to be aware of, replace your carbon monoxide unit every five years. Or at least check out the model you purchased. If you look at the fine print…it says replace in five years, typically. Yes, I change those batteries twice a year as well.
6. Outside Winter Snow Equipment
This is a great time to get your snow blower serviced if you didn’t at the end of winter last year. Get the gas and oil ready for that first big snow storm. Make sure your snow shovels are acceptable to use and not chipped so badly that they will ruin the concrete on your driveway or walkway. This last winter Southern Utah had a record snowfall. We don’t have snow plows, snow shovels or snow blowers. I live in a desert. Well, the prepper that I am….we found three of us who had snow shovels to use to help out the neighbors. My husband and a couple of other guys went around and shoveled driveway after driveaway. We saw people outside with regular shovels or push brooms trying to clear the snow from their driveway…they do not work as well. I am thinking the local stores will stock some snow shovels this year. It was a crazy winter everywhere last year.
7. Hot Chocolate
I just have to add hot chocolate. Do you love homemade Hot Chocolate as much as I do? Just picture yourself sipping a warm cup with a little dollop of whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top. LOVE it! You can watch the snowflakes from your comfy chair…….please add cocoa to your food storage.
8. Build Up Your Immune System
We all know we need to eat well and exercise, but it doesn’t hurt to remind us more often. The more fruits and vegetables the better. If we eat healthy food then we will stay healthy, hopefully. We have all heard if you can’t pronounce the words on a box you might want to pass on it. Except, my husband…he loves cereal each morning with milk and bananas. Have you heard the statement that if your grandma couldn’t buy it at the store we shouldn’t eat it? I have heard that….but I grew up on some food I didn’t feed my kids. You have to laugh and take baby steps to start to eat a little healthier. That’s all we can do. Life is good.
9. Emergency Food and Water
By now you know how important it is to have extra food, instant milk, and water stored if you get homebound because of the weather. The roads last year were crazy with ice storms, flooding, and heavy snow. Some had hurricanes, tornadoes, and roads shut down. Please add a few more cans or boxes to your shopping cart over the next two months. You will be glad you did, I promise.
10. Candles-Flashlights-Emergency Lighting
If possible keep candles with matches ready to use if you lose power. Be sure and have some flashlights and batteries that are fresh and ready to use. If you have some extra pillowcases you can make this to hang from your bed. Emergency Bed Bag My favorite flashlight is the Goal Zero one. It has a crank, no batteries required, chargeable, and has a solar panel.
11. Pet Clothing
This one step is a little sad for me because I lost my last puppy a few months ago. But I still have the sweaters (heavy soft wool) ready if we decide to get another pet. I can’t part with my emergency pet strollers either. Its the prepper in me, I know. Pets need us to prepare for the warmth and care they need, just like children. Stock enough food for three months if possible. If we have to evacuate be ready to keep your pet warm, hydrated and fed.
In the winter months with the furnace running so much, we need a little more humidity, depending on where you live. I have a portable humidifier / mister going 24/7 through the winter months. I have to use my reverse osmosis water to fill it because our water is so hard here. You may need to use distilled water to help protect your unit. It’s a good idea to have a humidifier if someone is sick with colds, bronchitis or pneumonia. Of course, you must decide if a humidifier is good for your family.
13. Family Communication Plan
Sometime before the end of the year (no pressure on anyone) please put together a plan on how you will communicate with each other in a power outage. I am talking friends, neighbors, and family. Please fill out this form by filling in all the names, phone numbers, and emails so they are available when you need to contact those you care about. If your phone with all the contact information you use can’t be charged you will have a paper with the information on it so you can use other communication options.Emergency Contact Information
FEMA.gov Federal Emergency Management Agency