Have you been outside lately? There has not been a coatless day in WEEKS and the trees downtown are one harsh wind away from officially being bare.
The point is…it’s cold.
We all know the drill here. We put away our summertime flip flops in exchange for wool socks and thick boots. Our tank tops get pushed to the backs of our closets as sweaters emerge. Winter is coming and we are preparing our closets accordingly.
But how are you preparing your home?
It’s hard to imagine failing to maintain the greatest investment we’ve ever made yet every year a shocking number of homeowners fail to do basic winterization tasks. Some don’t even know that they should! To lend a helping hand here are the Top 5 Winterization Tasks you should do every year.
Clean out the gutters
Those beautiful fall leaves we’ve been watching descend so gracefully from the sky are the same ones descending into your gutters. Although that might not mean much now, when the temperature dips down to freezing it can mean a whole lot. Water unable to escape the drains due to fallen leaves expand as it freezes. This can cause gutters to become damaged or pull away from the house. Eventually these become overhead hazards that threaten to fall from above.
Cleaning your gutters may not be fun, but it is vital and pretty easy. Simply grab a ladder, some work gloves, a trash bag, ang get to work! You’ll probably find it goes faster than you ever imagined.
Flush irrigation systems
If you have a sprinkler system for your home, it is of the utmost importance to have the lines professionally blown out before the cold hits! As we talked about with the gutters above, when water freezes it expands. This is bad news for those underground pipes! Frozen water that expands within irrigation pipes can cause pipes to crack or burst destroying your system and your yard. Below are some local companies certified to service irrigation systems:
Precision Plumbing and Backflow Testing | 360-914-0321
Everflow Irrigation | 360-840-4793
GCF Backflow Services | 360-320-9871
Evergreen Landscape & Maintenance | 360-679-2363
King Water Company | 360-678-5336
Cover outside faucets
Going hand in hand with blowing out that sprinkler system is covering ALL outside spigots. BURSTING PIPES! It’s a very real issue that can cause thousands of dollars in property damage. Luckily, covering your pipes can be as easy as going to your local hardware store and picking up one of the below faucet covers. They are extremely easy to install and if you are even a little concerned we have found a helpful video to guide you through!
Fertilize the lawn
Winter months seem to only to bring with them frost and death. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the story for your lawn. Winter fertilizer helps your grass recover from minerals lost in the scorching summer sun and stock up on the nutrition it needs to withstand the cold winter months. This will prevent it from dying away when spring hits.
However, living on an island brings with it special considerations when it comes to fertilizing your lawn. Traditional fertilizers often contain high amounts of hazardous chemicals such as zinc, lead, cadmium, chromium or sometimes even arsenic. The risk of these chemicals is only elevated with the addition concern of their runoff into the Puget Sound. Living on Whidbey increases this risk drastically even for the most centrally located island properties. That’s why we highly suggest using eco-friendly fertilizers such as Milorganite’s Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer which you can pick up Home Depot today!
Replace weather stripping
Every year countless sums of money are spent on the excess heating required to keep our homes warm in the winter months. But is all that money necessary? You’d be shocked to learn all the different ways in which the sacred warm air inside escapes from your home. Although some of these issues require big solutions like reinstalling insulation in your roof or switching to a better heating system altogether; quite a lot can be done in simply replacing some of your weather stripping around the house!
How long has the weather stripping along your exterior doors been there? Since you’ve moved in, right? Well every time that door opens and closes there is a little more wear to the stripping and after a few hundred passages it’s no wonder it starts to give way.
Replacing weather stripping is easy and relatively cheap! Check it out:
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How to Get the Wiggles out in the Winter!
Its that time of year where the holiday decorations have been stowed away, the invites for parties and activities have slowed, and the festivities for the season have come to an end. However, there is just one issue; that little one of yours did NOT get the slow down memo. With tiny feet still wanting to go a mile a minute and the weather outside not quite ready to cooperate; what do you do? We have a few tips and tricks to help you get those wiggles out this winter!
Indoor Science Projects:
As a parent, you know the best activity for a child is one that keeps both their body and mind active. That’s why indoor science experiments are a perfect cure for winter restlessness. Encouraging your child’s curiosity and engaging their mind at an early age can help to encourage a life-long love for learning. Who knows! Maybe they’re the next Einstein.
Raising da Vinci offers some great indoor science experiment ideas: Check it out! There is a video with 10 fun ideas in 10 minutes! Watch it with your kids and challenge them to complete all 10. Tell us how it goes.
Open Skate at the Roller Barn:
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On Whidbey we are spoiled with an assortment of unique activities that are hard to find anywhere else and our beloved Roller Barn is one! Although it now primarily hosts the Boys & Girls Club of Oak Harbor, the Roller Barn still has Friday Night open skate from 6pm – 8pm. This is a great way to not only support our local Boys & Girls Club but also teach that little one of yours how to boogie on some blades!
For more information, visit the Roller Barn’s Facebook.
Indoor D.I.Y. Activities:
What could be better than playing games with the people you love? Also, creating those games! Doing D.I.Y. games and activities with your kids this winter is a particularly good idea because it’s not only fun and engaging; it will keep them entertained for twice as long! This will also allow you to change the rules the way you see fit. It can create a great space to not only get out that excess energy, but also encourage problem solving and cooperation.
For indoor activity ideas: Click here!
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Looking for something extra special and fun to treat those little ones with? Try taking a trip to Bouncin’ Arcade and Fun Center! Bouncin’ is a local indoor playground and arcade center with activities for tots to teens. With an entire floor covered in bounce houses, you will be guaranteed a tired tiny one by the day’s end.
For more information on Bouncin’ including their hours and pricing, check out their Facebook!
Yoga for Kids:
It might seem counter intuitive but the one thing your hyperactive kid might need this winter is just some calm, relaxing, and restful yoga. Yoga is just as good for kids as it is for adults! It helps kids learn about and engage their body in a way that requires thought and concentration. The breathing techniques children learn in yoga can also help to be calm in other situations as well!
Parents Magazine has picked out a few really great poses for you and your little one to try out: Click here!
Do you have something you think we should add to our list? We would love to hear. Share with us in the comments below.
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