Whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor, here are 9 quick tips to get your home or business ready for the snow season.
- Final Lawn Mowing. Lawn should be short going into the winter months to prevent snow mold in the spring. Often times we hold off the contractor because the “grass doesn’t grow” but the warmer wetter days in late October and early November have encouraged lawn growth. The blades of grass should be no more than 3″ high at the max. Snow, especially heavy snow or snow that lays on the grass for long periods of time encourage the formation of pink or gray snow mold in the spring months as well as gives voles ample room to burrow under the snow and create disastrous tracks in the grass.
- Clean Your Gutters. Keeping your gutters clean and free from debris allows the water to flow freely off your roof. When the gutters are full; water spills over the edge and creates icy spots on hard surfaces, water seeps under and rots the boards beneath the gutters and finally in heavy snow periods, it can create ice dams on the roof, shingles and soffit boards which can lead to extensive water and physical damage.
- Remove accumulated leaves from doorways, driveway and any corner that impedes access. Even if you have had a formal fall clean up or done it yourself, stray leaves from the neighbors, wooded areas or hanger-on-ers (as I call them) pool and collect in the corners of your patio, walkways, entrances, driveways, loading docks etc. Take a few minutes and clean those piles before it snows. They can be unsafe for you or someone you hire to shovel. They make extra heavy work of those areas. Even worse, they can freeze solid and make it extremely difficult to remove snow which then creates a melting, icy problem that hangs on….
- Shut Off & Drain Outside Water Sources. Most homeowners and business owners have this scheduled, but don’t forget to check it off the list. Irrigation systems need to be blown out and winterized. Dock lines, additional spigots, outdoor showers and house spigots all need to be drained and winterized. Double check – it’s been warm out and maybe you slipped in an extra car wash or two.
- Shovels & Ice Scrapers. Do you know where they are? Digging them out is not going to make it snow or prevent it from snowing. Make sure your car has a scraper in it beginning in November. Also, it’s a good time to check to make sure you have a flashlight and other preparedness items (especially if you travel in the snow for any reason!). It’s better to have a shovel you like ready to go instead of running to the store with every other unprepared person as it’s snowing. 🙂
- Equipment Check – Snow Blowers, Generators ….. If you take care of your own property, make sure your snow blower has been serviced, has clean gas and is ready to go. Also, if you have a portable generator be sure it’s ready to go as well.
- Ice Melt. Having a supply of ice melt available by entrances is an excellent practice. Plan ahead and purchase a product that matches your needs. There are many types available for purchase, some okay, some good and some excellent. Choose what works best for you; i.e. pet friendly, concrete v pavers, etc. Read the label well and choose appropriately. ProTip: some come in 20lb or larger bags. Transfer the bag to 2 gallon or 5 gallon bucket with a cover. This will make it cleaner, dryer and easier and SAFER to apply than carrying around a large bag.
- Vehicles: check your fluids in your vehicle especially the windshield wash, fill up your gas tank, find your ice scraper and maybe even a shovel just in case. Pull up your windshield wipers if you can.
- Create a relationship with a professional contractor. Some believe they can drive though a couple inches of snow, or maybe that it doesn’t snow enough to warrant a contractor….However, I encourage you to form a relationship with a professional who can assist you when the conditions are right. If you wait and start making phone calls when the snow is coming, you will not get a response. Most contractors plan their routes, timing and execution plans at the beginning of the season. It’s like insurance for your snow blower…… Talk to a professional before it snows this season.