Freezing weather brings urgency to homeowner chores

Tuesday, October 11, 2016by  Jon Osterberg

We're moving deeper into fall, and you only need to look to the mountains for evidence.
     The first major dusting of snow has coated the Cascades and Olympics, with Stevens Pass reporting a couple of inches. Forecasters say if you didn't awaken to frost this morning, expect it tomorrow in the lowlands west of the Cascades.
     If you live east of the mountains, you've already seen freezing temperatures. The National Weather Service issued an alert of particular interest to fruit farmers, predicting lows of 26 to 31 degrees until Wednesday, when rain will return.
     Freezing weather brings some urgency to household chores you might have put off until now. Delay no further:

  • Disconnect your outdoor hoses, and cover the faucets with a foam shroud. Otherwise, water trapped inside the hose and pipe can freeze and expand, splitting them.
  • Wrap water pipes in unheated areas, like crawl spaces and the garage.
  • If you have underground irrigation with popup sprinklers in your yard, blow the water out for the same reason.
  • Check the antifreeze in your car to ensure it's not diluted.
  • Top off your windshield-washer reservoir with cleaning fluid that won't freeze.
  • Replace your wiper blades. You don't want a streaky windshield in the rain, and freezing weather can make old blades brittle and ineffective.
  • Do you own a boat with an inboard or inboard-outboard motor? Open the petcocks to drain water from your block.
  • Do you own a travel trailer or tent trailer with a water tank? Drain it and blow out the lines.
     If you haven't scheduled annual maintenance on your furnace, you'd better call right now. I procrastinated until mid-September and couldn't book a tuneup until October 20.

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