Are you prepared for another arctic winter?

Oh dear. Having basked in Mediterranean sunshine over the weekend I rose this morning to find autumn had arrived. Looking back to the dreadful late autumn and winter weather experienced over the last two years thoughts inevitably turn to essential preparations before it’s too late.

Salt Spreader

I have already been repainting fences and external doors and clearing out garden rubbish and dead plants but now the first omen of the winter ahead has arrived some essential annual safety precautions are next.

Like many homeowners I was caught out by the severity of the 2010/2011 winter and thinking lightening couldn’t strike twice was also found equally unprepared for the repeat conditions last winter.

This year I have vowed to prepare well in advance and would advise readers to do the same.

Here is a run-down of my to-do list to use as a guide for your own winter preparations:

  • Get the central heating boiler serviced. Without it life will be very uncomfortable but also a poorly maintained boiler can generate lethal toxic fumes
  • I also have an open fire so a chimney sweep is necessary as blocked or badly sooted flues can cause fires and dangerous carbon monoxide build up. That reminded me to check and replace the batteries in the Carbon Monoxide detectors and Smoke detectors.
  • Replenish the log store and fill up the bags of kindling sticks
  • Clear out the rainwater guttering of leaves and debris and make sure they are secure. Last winter a whole section was ripped off by the snow and ice accumulation.
  • Order in a bag or two of white De-icing salt. I have a lot of hard paved areas so prefer the bulk 15kg bags but you can get smaller packs such as the single application 1.5kg shaker sticks. For home use I would advise against common rock salt as it creates a sludgy brown mess on thawing. I invested in a salt spreader last year and have used it since for spreading grass fertiliser and seed so it just remains to check it is still working.
  • I am also ordering in a snow scoop. I tried to buy one last year during the worst of the winter but everyone was out of stock or offering extended delivery.
  • Replace the door draught excluder tapes as they compact over time and become ineffective.

We can all hope for a mild winter but I fear the odds are against it. So hope for the best and prepare for the worst.