Dec 05 2013

Winter Weather is on the Way

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Winter Weather is on the Way - Ten Things You Can Do NOW to Prepare

 

LENEXA, Kan. (December 5, 2013) - Chances are pretty good that most of the Midwest will get a covering of snow and some freezing temperatures at least once this winter. And, while a fresh blanket of snow can be a pretty site, removing it from your sidewalks and driveways and dealing with unfreezing frozen pipes and gutters can be anything but pleasant unless you are properly prepared. Follow these winter weather preparedness tips to make sure you're ready to deal with whatever a storm leaves behind.

Prepare your home:

  1. Snow shovel - This might be an obvious winter weather tool, but be sure to select the right kind for the job. For a lighter snow, two to three inches, a pusher type of shovel is best. Use it by placing the shovel close to the ground and pushing the snow to the side of the area you're shoveling. For a heavier snowfall, you will want a scoop shovel. Scoop shovels are designed for lifting and throwing larger amounts of snow into a pile. They are often made of steel, making them heavier and more durable.
  2. Melting agents
- In frigid winter temperatures, precipitation quickly turns to ice. Keep your sidewalk and driveway safe with ice melt. Ice melt breaks down ice so that you can easily shovel it aside. You don't need to use a large amount to get the job done. In fact, if you layer ice melt too thickly, it will puddle and leak into your yard, with the potential to damage your lawn. There are several different types of ice melt available. Be sure to read the product recommendations to choose the appropriate product depending upon application method and the amount of snow and ice received.
  3. Spreaders - Once you have your melting agent selected, use a broadcast spreader to distribute it evenly on the surface. The ice melt loads into the top and is funneled through a sprayer in the bottom. There's no better way to get a fast, even spread on your driveway. For sidewalks and other narrower spaces, use a hand-held spreader, which has a smaller broadcast radius and more direction control.
  4. Gear up the snow blower - Snow blowers can make quick work of removing a blanket of snow, but make sure you have made all the necessary preparations before the snow begins to fall. Check the snow blower's spark plug, replace the air filter and check all of the nuts and bolts, tightening them as needed. It is also recommended to remove the old gas from last year and replace with a fresh supply.
  5. Prevent frozen pipes - Pipes freeze for three reasons: quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. Take the time now to insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces, garage and attic. To prevent frozen pipes, use heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to wrap pipes. If the forecast calls for temperatures 20 Fahrenheit or below, let water drip from hot and cold faucets overnight. Open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate in places like below sinks or where pipes are near exterior walls.

Prepare yourself:

  1. Have a plan - Clean any cars off first and remember that a sidewalk and driveway are mostly rectangles. Move the snow from the center of the rectangle to the edge. Plan ahead so you aren't depositing shoveled snow in an area you will have to shovel again later.
  2. Warm up - Before beginning to shovel, warm up your muscles by walking a few minutes or marching in place. Then stretch the muscles in your arms and legs.
  3. Maintain proper posture – While shoveling, lift with your legs, not your back and keep some distance between your hands on the shovel handle to create more leverage. Don't twist your body as you throw the snow.
  4. Hydrate - dehydration is just as big an issue in cold winter months as it is in the summer. Drink plenty of water and avoid stimulants like caffeine or nicotine.
  5. Dress in layers - Remember that the sun is pretty powerful this time of year. Dress in loose layers so you are able to remove a layer as needed.

For help preparing for the pending snowstorm, visit your local Westlake Hardware location for all your winter-weather supplies.

Westlake Ace Hardware was founded in 1905 and today operates 85 neighborhood hardware stores in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Westlake is the largest member of the Ace Hardware Cooperative, giving the company access to over 70,000 items. Westlake product categories include traditional hardware categories such as fasteners, tools, plumbing and electric supplies and paint. Westlake also offers a wide range of lawn and garden products and operates large Garden Centers adjacent to many of its stores. For more information, please visit westlakehardware.com.

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