Time to Winterize
by Carol Dunn
If you know what heat tape is, you’ll do alright living in Huerfano County. If you don’t have a clue, read on. Knowing that water freezes at 32 degrees is a survival skill here. When you get right down to it, sometimes it’s not the freezing of things that’s the real problem for homeowners, it’s the thawing. People who come here from warmer climates may not have the proper respect for freezing temperatures until after their first year in Colorado. This is adult home-schooling in its purest form.
When it comes time to winterize around our homes, it is a rare few individuals who actually make a checklist of things that need to be done and then do them. If you are a part-year resident, you want to throw all your stuff into the trunk of your car around November first and drive south as fast as you can to get out of here. Ok, maybe you have more stuff than that and you load up your motor home. Either way, you’re not thinking about next spring, you’re thinking about how wrinkly the cold weather makes your neck look. Well, here are some ideas to get your list started.
Drain back the automatic lawn sprinklers. This is when you remember why you didn’t want to install them to begin with and you can remind your spouse “I told you so.” I’ve heard that the lines need to be “blown out.” There was a warning on one web site that you should not stand over any irrigation components during air blow out. Oh darn, I was really hoping to see this process while standing over a sprinkler head when it’s 35 degrees outside. I won’t advise on the equipment one uses to blow out sprinkler lines, but I’m thinking it’s probably not your lungs. However, if it costs money, there is someone somewhere who has tried this.
Drain your water heater. I would say your “hot” water heater, but it doesn’t heat hot water, it heats cold water. So the proper term is your cold water heater. Don’t use this term in public, though, or people will offer to help you pack your motor home.
Dig up your tender flower bulbs and store them where they won’t freeze. If you don’t know what a tender bulb is, just let them freeze and buy new ones next year.
Drain the water lines to your evaporative cooler. The mess caused by thawing evaporative cooler water lines is indescribable – the heavy, wet insulation, the soggy collapsing drywall, the water that sprays from the split pipe at 700 gallons a minute, flooding every square inch of your carpeted home before you discover it. I’m only speculating of course, but trust me, you don’t want to go there.
Gather up all those leftover partial cans of paint which you will probably never use and store them where they will not freeze.
The very last thing before you drive away, remove the water from the toilet tanks and bowls. This is because as soon as you do it, someone will need to use the toilet and you will have fight them off with a whip and chair. No, I don’t have any bright ideas for getting the last quart of water out of the toilet bowl (maybe a wet/dry vac would work if you could imagine using it again someday). You know what’s been in that toilet. It’s difficult enough to clean the thing with a brush – let alone put your hands in there. (If you’re really squeamish, just hire a plumber or make your kids do it.) After you remove every bit of water from the toilet bowl, you need to put antifreeze in it. If you don’t have any antifreeze, I suppose bourbon would do. I’ve never tried this, but I know for sure that it doesn’t freeze, at least at Huerfano County temperatures. I’ve heard it also kills germs. Bingo – two birds with one stone.
Have a nice winter. We’ll see you next spring.