While 2015 was one of the coldest winters in recent history, many meteorologists are predicting that 2016 will be even worse. For New Yorkers who feel like they just can't deal with another bad winter, don't panic. There are steps you can take to make this winter go a lot smoother than last year’s.
First, you will need to prepare your house for the weather ahead. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to protect your biggest investment and make sure that you’re comfortable all winter long.
Get your supplies now
Don’t wait for the panic before the first snow storm of the season to start shopping for emergency supplies. Start stocking up now. If your local stores aren’t carrying what you need yet, look online. Also use this time to check the condition of last year’s tools and equipment, such as snow shovels, snow blowers, and generators. Getting things repaired and ready now will be a lot cheaper and less stressful than trying to replace them during a storm.
Insulate your home.
If you live in a newly constructed house, you will probably just need to check the condition of your window and door seals and replace them as necessary. Otherwise, call your local utility company and have them do an energy assessment on your home (in many places this is a free service). This assessment can show you the places where you need to improve your insulation and weather-stripping.
Prepare your yard.
If you don’t want to deal with a disaster in the spring, you need to prep now. Start with your outdoor hardware such as decorations and sprinkler systems: Bring in small items that can be tossed around by high winds. Cover your patio furniture and other large items that won’t be used for a while. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your sprinkler system. This might mean turning off the water supply for an older system.
Turn your attention to your plants. In a harsh winter, you need to encourage your larger plants and trees to go dormant -- the best way to do this is to prune back as much new growth as possible. You may want to consider investing in thermal blankets for sensitive plants that you don’t want to replace. These blankets protect your foliage from the elements, but are designed to let in some light.
Have an emergency plan
In the event of a particularly bad storm, you may need to evacuate or survive on your own for several days without access to a store or utilities. Learn several different paths out of your neighborhood, and keep enough food and water on hand to ride out the aftermath of a storm. You may also want to consider purchasing a generator if your area is prone to power outages.
Get your car checked
Take the appropriate steps to prepare your vehicle for colder temperatures. Check and/or change fluids, be sure you have chains, a shovel, gloves, etc. in your trunk. While your car might be kept in your garage at night, it will still be exposed to the elements during the day.
These hints will help you to look forward to the change of seasons, and enjoy the coming winter.