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  • Writer's pictureSeth Mitchell

Winterization Is Coming

I talked to a Customer the other day that was complaining about the need to buy a new automobile. I asked him if he was going to trade his current vehicle in or sell it; he responded that he didn’t have a vehicle any longer because of the winter storm last year. He told me the freeze had cracked his engine block and it basically totaled the vehicle. That was a tough break; I would have lost an engine too in one of my big trucks if I had not bought a $6.99 anti-freeze tester and tested the anti-freeze at the onset of the storm. Luckily, I did test and one of the engines had very little anti-freeze protection, according to the tester. I even checked my dirtbike engine’s coolant! It was fine, thank you for asking. :)

Hopefully, our winter this year will not be anything like last year’s. But nonetheless, we should begin preparing now - here’s some tips for around the home:

  1. Engines, Pumps, Holding Tanks, etc. - Check the antifreeze in your vehicles, tractors, motorcycles- anything with a radiator or holds water - like RV holding tanks. Make sure the engine coolant is concentrated enough to protect against freezing temps. Buy an anti-freeze tester from an Auto-parts store. This is very easy and cheap insurance against costly repairs. Drain holding tanks, water pumps, and associated lines in RV and boats if possible.

  2. Pool Equipment - Familiarize yourself with the best practices for winterizing your pool heater’s heat exchanger and manifold, pool pumps, above-ground plumbing, filtration system, booster pumps, etc. AND ANY LOW SPOT IN THE SYSTEM THAT CAN NOT BE DRAINED. Download the equipment manual for your appliance/equipment and follow those recommendations by the manufacturer. I would be hesitant to depend on circulation to protect against freezing in case of power failure - or equipment failure.

  3. Pool Coping Expansion Joint Maintenance -If you have a pool, the seal between the coping and deck should be intact and pliable, sealing against water ingress. Have this seal inspected. This seal protects your pools beam against water ingress and costly freeze damage. The costs associated with repairs of broken beams are staggering. Polyurethane sealant is inexpensive insurance against damaged beams.

  4. Irrigation Systems - Your irrigation’s siphon-break equipment and associated cut-off valves should - at the very least, be wrapped. Best practice: Drain the entire system. Enough said.

  5. Unprotected Attic Pipes - Nearly all of us got caught here because of our home’s lack of insulation and our building practices here in the south. Have your attic inspected for exposed lines. Scrutinize areas where there are unheated walls/spaces nearest pipes. Add insulation in the attic - use wrap in conjunction with batten or cellulose.

  6. Exposed Wall Spigots - Wrap them.

  7. Water Cut-Off Valves - Know where your home’s water cut-off valve is located at the street - and in the interior of the home if equipped. Have the necessary tools on hand and make sure the valves are accessible and serviceable.

  8. Water Softeners - Read the manufacturers’ recommendations on winterizing and bypassing the system. Ensure the valves function and are accessible not buried and forgotten.

  9. Generators - Change oil if older than 12 months. Fire them up and test. Ensure you have enough fuel for several days of runtime. Add fuel stabilizer and run to ensure treated gasoline has filled the carburetor.

  10. Gas-Powered Equipment - Any gasoline power equipment that will be decommissioned until spring should be drained of fuel and let idle until the engine dies because of fuel starvation. Or, simple add fuel stabilizer to all gasoline and two-stroke fuel and don’t worry about it. I do a combination of both because of the addition of ethanol to our fuels destroys the fuels systems on many types of equipment.

  11. Fireplaces - Natural Gas or wood burning types should be ready to go. When was the last time the flue was cleaned? Does the natural gas fireplace ignite and burn, correctly? Now is the time to gather some firewood and keep it dry for the wood-burning type.

This list is not exhaustive by any means, and in no way does it guard against every possible scenario that may arise. But I hope it assists you in preparing for the coming winter - regardless of the severity. I will include a picture of the tester that I bought - these are old-school and this one was Made in the USA. Good luck! And don’t hesitate to contact me for assistance.

-Seth Mitchell

Right Fix Now Outdoor Services

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