Fix-It Chick: 11 tips for last-minute winterization

Are you ready for winter? Here are 11 tips that may help you catch one or two things you forgot to do last month.

1. Empty the gas from lawn mowers, garden equipment and gas cans. Wintertime condensation will ensure engine troubles in the spring if gas is left sitting through the winter. If the tank cannot be emptied, add Sta-bil gas additive to combat condensation problems.

2. Disconnect the garden hose from the spigot. Water trapped inside the hose will expand when frozen and possibly burst the hose and the water line supplying the outdoor spigot. Store hoses away for the winter to prolong their lives and save the cost of replacing them in the spring.

3. Protect outdoor spigots over the winter with a cold weather faucet cover. These Styrofoam covers are specifically designed to attach to the spigot and provide beneficial insulation during subzero temperatures.

4. Prune back shrubs and perennial plants. Cover smaller plants with 6 inches of mulch. Mulch will hold in the winter’s moisture and protect the root ball from severe temperatures.

5. Prune back any low-hanging tree branches that might cause damage to plants or homes if a winter storm weighs the branches down with snow or ice.

6. Stack and cover outdoor furniture to protect it from the elements and prolong its useful life.

7. Clean off the outdoor air conditioning unit and cover it with a weather-resistant tarp or air conditioner cover. Not only will the cover protect the air unit, but it will also reduce the back flow of cold air into the home throughout the winter.

8. Drain any rain barrels. Leave the spigot open to ensure water won’t accumulate and freeze over the winter.

9. Check the gutters to make sure they are free from debris and ready to handle the soon-to-come melting snow and spring rains.

10. Make sure all ceiling fans are rotating in a clockwise direction to push warm air down from the ceiling in the winter.

11. Replace the humidifier’s filter and crank it up to keep the humidity level in the home between 35-40 percent all winter long.

Now bundle up, grab a stack of good books and relax, knowing you are ready to enjoy the cold peacefulness of winter.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at