Living in the Poconos the seasons the season that I think catches most ‘new guys’ offguard is definitely Winter.Â The other seasons do not vary too much from city living or other parts of the country but Winter is definitely unique.Â Now is the time to get a start on getting your home prepared for winter so come the snowy months you can sit back and relax confidently.Â
I moved to the Poconos a little overÂ 5 years ago and the concept of a well, septic system, Â fireplace and needing to get someone to plow your drivewayÂ were totally new concepts to me.Â So hopefully mistakes I’ve made and have learned from that have turned into theÂ tipsÂ below willÂ prepare you better.
Prepare your yard and the outside of your home
First and foremost be sure to prepare your yard for the upcoming months by winterizing it as much as possible.Â Right now its not too cold yet and it will save you a lot of time and aggrevation to get it done now.
– Winterize your plants.Â Cover them, trim them, whatever is necessary, our winters our quite cold and you definitely don’t want to lose theÂ time and money you spent on your yard.
– Clear the yard and cover objects.Â Bring in toys & empty plant containers andÂ tarp what you can – lawnmowers, swingsets, large toys.Â If you have tables and/or chairs with covers bring them in or tarp them as well.
– Rake and mow one last time.Â Especially if you live in an extremely wooded area, the cold and snow can come on pretty quick so be sure to keep up on raking as trying to get up all those wet leaves in the spring is not fun.
– Turn off water to your outside water spouts.
– Clean your gutters and get your chimney checked.
– Check your septic.Â If you’re due for a cleaning have it done now because the hole they need to access is going to be a pain to get to when the ground is frozen and needless to say they will charge you extra probably.
Â Prepare inside your home
– Heating.Â Check your propane or whatever heat source you are using.Â Make sure you are not empty – the worst time to find that out is the first seriously cold night of the season.Â Fill up now, and remember to fill up over the summer next year as it is typically cheaper.
– Electric Heat.Â If electric is your only means of heat you should really look into an additional heating method as well.Â Small oil heaters and generators are probably your best option.Â The electricity is bound to go out, even for short periods, at some time over the winter.Â When I lived about 5 minutes outside of Stroudsburg the ice storm a few years ago knocked us out of power for an entire week.Â You just never know so be prepared!
– Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.Â If you do not already have them definitely be sure to go out and get them.Â When you start using propane, oil, candles it can get dangerous even if you aren’t careful, so keep safe and be prepared.
– Speaking of being prepared, a few simple things to always have on hand.Â Lighters, candles, flashlights, matches, water jugs, warm blanket and food that does not require being cooked(think crackers).
– Wells and water.Â If you have a well and your power goes out you will not be able to use it – which means no water, no flushing the toilets, nothing.Â So be sure to always have a few jugs of water available for drinking!
– Check the number on file with the electric company.Â Make sure they have both your home phone and your cell phone incase of emergencies.Â If you power goes out and they try to contact you and all you have is a cordless phone that requires electricity you’re going to be in hot water.
A few last notes…
– Snow plowing.Â If you have a driveway that needs plowed make sure you always have the cash on hand for it.Â When you run out to grab bread, milk and eggs before a big storm make sure you have some cash too.
– Get the basics now.Â Salt or sand, shovels, ice scrapers, gloves, hats, water jugs, candlesÂ – save yourself some stress later by being prepared now.
I’m not an expert and I’m sure that other people have some great ideas and tips so feel free to post them to help others out.Â I hope that this at least gets you thinking about winter as its one of the most beautiful seasons in the Poconos and if you’re preparedÂ you can just sit back and enjoy it.Â
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