Sunday, October 11, 2009


The bitter cold that rolled through over this weekend serves as more than a gentle reminder that winter is right around the corner. For those who have lived here a few years, the drill is familiar. For those new to our state, here are a few tips to help you get ready for the cold season ahead.

Shut off the water to your sprinklers and have them blown out. Hopefully, this advice isn't coming to you "too late". I saw at least three homes in my travels over the weekend where copper lines had frozen and geysers were shooting up toward the heavens. Last year, we blew our sprinklers out in early October and then had three more weeks of hot weather. This year, the first "hard freeze" hit October 9. As usual, the autumn weather here is purely random.

This weekend's cold snap has thrown a lot of the trees into a panic. From here on out, we're going to have a pretty fast "turning" of the leaves, which means roof gutters and downspouts will be filling up with leaves over the next few weeks. Clean them out to make sure water (which will freeze and expand) isn't trapped, and make sure they are firmly mounted so they can bear the weight of snow and ice.

Don't forget to have your furnace checked out at least every two years. Same with your gas fireplaces. Carbon monoxide in your home is a deadly serious matter (bad pun intended)... and over the past few years Colorado has been in the news more than a few times for CO-related deaths. Effective July 1, sellers are now required by law to install functioning carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of any sleeping area in homes with fuel-based heating systems.

Make sure you know where your snow shovel is before you need it, and take time this week to fill your car's windshield washer fluid reservoir with a good, winter grade solution. Keep in mind, too, that your tires may loose a few pounds of pressure in the cold air and you should top them off next time you hit the filling station.

This is not a comprehensive list, but it's a good start. The important thing is to be prepared for whatever comes, and help your neighbors to do the same.