How to Prepare for the Cold and Wet Northwest Winters
Winter can be a brutal period depending on how harsh the conditions get. Oregon winters start around mid-November and stretch to mid-March with daytime temperatures between the 50s and 40s, and on some days, temperatures go below freezing. Over the last few years, temperatures in the central U.S. continue to plummet as a result of a vast cold area of arctic space coming from Canada. Even though the Pacific Northwest may not experience extreme temperatures compared to other interior regions, winter can still be a challenging time, hence the need for proper preparations. Getting ready for the season not only makes it less scary but prevents damage that can be caused by severe weather conditions.
Preparing Your Home
Firstly, get ready to keep the people in the house from freezing by providing proper heating. Before winter begins, ensure that the heating system in your home is functioning optimally. You don’t need that furnace breaking down in the middle of the season, making it essential to invest in good maintenance. Besides that, have some backup options for warming the house because you can’t always be sure that something won’t happen even with a new heating system. Think about getting a generator if a power outage is a potential outcome of winter where you live. Gather firewood and clean the fireplace and the chimney or you can have space heaters standing by.
The plumbing system is a big concern during winter and your home in Oregon faces much the same risks as anywhere else. Frozen pipes can be quite a headache during this time of year, so get insulation to reduce frosting and icing on pipe surfaces. Sealing foundation vents is also appropriate because they contribute to split and frozen water lines, but remember to remove sealing in spring. Allowing cold and warm faucets to drip slowly will prevent freezing, and in cases of pipes most susceptible to freezing, nearby faucets should keep running on the coldest nights.
Ensure your home is properly insulated during winter by closing a chimney damper that is not in use, minimizing the use of bathroom and kitchen fans, closing curtains at night and closing storm windows properly. Just in case of a storm winter, keep an emergency supply kit on standby. Have food water, flashlights, medication, and batteries in the kit, which should also be easily accessible. Also, keep the phone charged for communication.
The yard is another place that requires protection from the effects of winter weather in Oregon. If your garden has tender plants, ensure that they are adequately covered if the temperatures are forecast to go below 20 degrees. Snow at the bottom of shrubs is no problem because it offers insulation for the roots but make sure to shake it off if it lands on branches to avoid breakage. You can also help branches maintain an upward structure by tying a rope around them. Container plants should have protection such as mulch, compost, or old blankets for insulation because they can freeze. For a greenhouse, keep temperatures 35 degrees and above to protect plants. If the yard has trees close to the house, trim them to prevent damage to the roof or vehicles. Don’t forget the garden hoses; disconnect and drain them properly then coil and keep them away to avoid freezing.
Winterizing your car is a no-brainer, so make all the necessary inspections such as ensuring a full gas tank, oil, anti-freeze, refilling wiper fluid, changing wiper blades, and the battery. Checking the tires is paramount when getting your vehicle ready for winter. Get snow/traction tires or make certain the ones you have can handle wet roads and guarantee that the tire pressure is appropriate.
During the four months of winter in Oregon, it rains a lot, so prepare for wet weather as well. Investing in waterproof shoes and a good raincoat will go a long way in getting ready for this time of year. Hobbies will help keep you warm and occupied, and skiing is one you can try in Oregon with the mountains getting plenty of snow. You can also go snowshoeing or snowboarding if skiing is not your thing. If you choose to stay indoors, have a reading list or indoor activities.
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