Whether you live in Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, somewhere in between, or another Eastern Sierra town, your home likely needs some attention and prep work before winter arrives.
Make sure your snow removal equipment is in good shape.
Broken shovels you never fixed after last winter? Buy new ones so you’re prepared. If you have a snow blower, make sure it’s running well. Renew your snow removal/plow service, or make sure your company still has you on their list. Stock up on salt if you use it. Be sure you have snow scrapers for your car. Stores charge more for shovels and ice scrapers once winter is in full swing.
If you have a generator, backup batteries, or other emergency supplies, make sure they all work.
Don’t wait until mid-winter to find out your backup systems don’t work. Check to see if your generator is full of gas or needs to be topped off. And if you use propane, firewood, or pellets to heat your home, make sure you have plenty. I also recommend emergency power outage lights that come on when your power goes out, or a few flashlights and candles. This is also a good time to remember to test your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or change the batteries.
Get your chimney swept and/or have your pellet stove serviced.
If you haven’t already this year, get your chimney swept and inspected. If you have a pellet stove, they typically need to be cleaned and serviced once a year. Put your metal trash can for ashes near your stove. If you have a furnace, it may need to be serviced annually too.
Clean your gutters and make a plan to divert water.
Especially if you’ve had issues with ice dams and snow shedding in past winters, consider making a plan so water drains better and snow doesn’t build up. Make sure your gutters are clean of leaves and pine needles too.
Winterize and store summer things.
If you have a swamp cooler or central air conditioner, winterize it. Prep and store all summer lawn tools like mowers.
Take steps to avoid frozen pipes.
I have a full list of tips in my frozen pipes blog post, but the top priorities are keeping your thermostat set to 55, removing hoses from outside faucets, and considering leaving faucets dripping for pipes that are more exposed to the cold. Drain all sprinkler/irrigation systems.
Confirm you’re well-covered by your home insurance.
At least once a year, it’s a good idea to make sure you have enough insurance coverage for your home. Especially if you’ve done major renovations, check with your insurance agent to be sure your insurance coverage is sufficient.
In the Eastern Sierra, we’re always hoping for snowy winters. Taking some steps every fall or early winter to prepare your home will help you enjoy all the winter storms without any house stress.