Winterizing is taking precautions to prevent cold weather related disasters. This winter of 2011-2012 has been most unusual. Although we saw temperatures in Highlands dip to 7 degrees in early December and some snow, January turned out to be the most mild in recent memory.
Cold winter temperatures can play havoc with household plumbing, particularly in seasonal homes, and in year round homes when the residents leave for a vacation. Traditionally we counter this by turning off the water “at the street,” or well pump. Then we open all the faucets, drain the toilets, dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator. Employ RV/marine antifreeze in the traps. The next level of defense is to drain the main lines. Insulating pipes in crawlspaces, sealing air infiltration gaps in foundation walls, keeping heat on at a low level such as 52 degrees. Ask yourself what will freeze should there be high winds or an ice storm and downed power lines? If you feel awkward about accomplishing these protective measures yourself, consider hiring a professional property manager or plumber to take care of this for you.
Even for year round homes it makes sense to be aware of these steps in case of that power loss. Stock your pantry with candles, flashlight batteries, drinking water, pet food and non-perishable food. Getting snowed in, even without a power loss, seems less romantic with every passing hour.
If you are thinking about using an auxiliary kerosene heater, or gasoline generator, remember to provide fresh air for ventilation, and a Carbon monoxide detector to monitor your success.