Ready for the snow?
Winterizing tips from the pros to prep and protect your home and belongings
By Rachel Spensieri
The leaves are changing colors. Acorns litter the ground. It’s apple-picking season, and the intoxicating scent of cider doughnuts wafts through the air. Fall has arrived in upstate New York! But lest you need a reminder that snowy weather is lurking around the corner, just take a look at those “NO PARKING Nov. 1-Apr. 1” street signs. Tick, tick, tick—the deadline for winterizing your home or business is fast-approaching.
But what are the must-dos when it comes to preparing for an upstate-caliber winter? Bill Eddy, co-owner of Saratoga Quality Hardware and Jay Russell, owner of Russell Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Clifton Park offer some expert advice on several essential tasks that must be completed to keep your home’s systems running properly and to protect your house and possessions from winter damage.
Prepare for snow and ice removal
The first time the weather reporters call for wintery weather, you can bet there will be a run on stores for those essential items. No, not bread and milk. Shovels and salt! That’s why Saratoga Quality Hardware’s Bill Eddy recommends doing an inventory of your necessary provisions before there is the threat of bad weather. “Get out in front of what you need to maintain your sidewalks, drive, and vehicles,” suggests Eddy. “Get ice melter, shovels, and ice scrapers lined up so you have them when the time comes.”
It is also a good idea to ensure your snowblower or plow is it good working order before those first snowflakes. If needed, make an appointment to have equipment tuned up this fall. And be sure you have a full tank of gas ready to go.
Winterize lawn equipment
While you are in the garage assessing your snow removal equipment, it also is important to protect your lawn tools and prepare to store them during the winter months. “When you put away your lawnmower, weed-whacker, chain saw, or other gas-powered tools, it is wise to use a winterizing gas additive [like Stabil],” advises Eddy. “Pour the additive into an almost-full tank of gas, and then run the machine for 10 minutes to protect the motor from getting gummed up over the winter.”
Prep your heating system
The first thing most people think about when it comes to preparing for cold temperatures is how they will stay warm. It is advisable to be sure your heating system is in good working order before the temperatures drop. “Start up your heating system early,” says Jay Russell of Russell Heating & Cooling, “and call to schedule an appointment for your annual system inspection and cleaning. This will prevent unnecessary surprises and also will ensure your heat is running efficiently and safely.”
And while it might be tempting to switch off that air conditioner and forget about it until the spring warm-up, there is one more important step that you should take: “Be sure to cover your outside A/C condenser unit,” advises Russell. “You can purchase a manufacturer’s cover, which leaves the bottom three inches open for ventilation, or you can simply place plywood over the top of the unit to keep the elements from getting in.”
Seal windows and doors
When temperatures dip into the teens or lower, not even your home’s windows and doors can always keep out the cold. But there are several products that can at least help to seal out frigid winter wind. “Especially for older homes that are less energy-efficient, it can be useful to put sealable plastic over windows or unused doors,” says Eddy. “These sealants will reduce air movement, and they can be especially helpful along a couch or next to a bed.”
Buildings’ doors are another “problem area” when it comes to cold air infiltration. “Adding some additional weather stripping along the bottom of doors can be a big help, and there also are some products available to reduce drafts along the doorstop,” Eddy suggests.
As the mercury drops, it’s time to put away those garden hoses. Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and store them out of the elements to prevent the rubber from cracking. “If there is a shut-off valve inside for the hose bib, be sure to turn it off to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting,” notes Russell.
Another building maintenance item that is good to check-off of your list while you are doing winter upkeep: drain 5-6 gallons of water from the valve at the bottom of your water heater. “This is an important step to remove sediment from the bottom of the unit,” says Russell. “It’s a simple task, but it can greatly improve your water heater’s efficiency.”
Prepare for power outages
If this winter turns out to be anything like the past two, the Capital Region should be prepared to endure deadly cold temperatures and yard-upon-yard of snow. And with such bitter cold and copious snow and ice, we also must prepare for potential power outages. “If there is an ice storm in the forecast, you must anticipate the worst and think ahead for not only water and food, but also for a heat source,” notes Eddy. “Propane heaters are one option, but their tanks must be stored outside, so a kerosene heater may be a better option since their tanks can safely be kept indoors.”
For the elderly or people with compromised health, it may be worth investing in a portable generator to ensure their homes maintain a power source. “In most buildings, a 5000- to 5500-watt generator will keep the lights on and the furnace running,” says Eddy. “A standby generator is a more expensive option, but it automatically kicks on when the power goes out, which is a nice convenience.” Eddy does note that, in addition to the cost of the generator unit, you will need an electrician to safely install the system.
Eddy offers a few additional tips in case a severe winter storm is forecast: “Be sure you have gas in the car, and consider keeping some hand and foot warmers in your glove box; they are great for emergencies.”
Home Improvement | Advertising Section
6 Simmons Lane, Albany
462.5454 ; www.farrellbrothers.com
To save you time, follow this advice on what you should do around the house to make sure your home is ready for winter.
Have your furnace or boiler professionally serviced. That includes cleaning and checking the supply lines, furnace ducts, filters, and thermostat. If you have a fireplace, have your chimney cleaned to remove any creosote build-up. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to be sure they’re working properly. Install fresh batteries. Trim any tree branches overhanging your roof as well as those that are close to electric and utility wires. Gather the phone numbers of your utility companies as well as your heating company. Store them near your telephone or tape them inside your phone book.
The Furniture House
1254 Hwy 9P, Saratoga Springs; 587.9865
1060 Route 9, Queensbury; 798.0133
We are pleased to announce the grand opening of our second location at Sutton’s Marketplace in Queensbury. We now have two great locations, our flagship location at 1254 Highway 9P in Saratoga Springs, and 1060 Route 9 in Queensbury.
What separates The Furniture House from other furniture stores is that we carry American-made, unique and hard-to-find furnishings. Our selections include Murphy Beds that are also desks, coffee tables that become dining tables, and much, much more.
Our staff is here to design, with you, your space, to maximize its efficiencies and to create the look you want.
We are selective about the quality we carry and guarantee the lowest possible prices. We will not be undersold within a 100-mile radius.
Discover the Furniture House. You’ll be glad you did.
Ted’s Flooring and Interior Design Center
118 Everett Road, Albany
489.4106 ; www.tedsfloorcovering.com
Ted’s Flooring and Interior Design, a family-owned business located in Albany, has been serving its customers for more than sixty years. From design assistance through installation, let Ted’s help you reflect your sense of style. Luxurious wool carpet, designer area rugs, elegant hardwood floors, stylish linoleum and luxury vinyl floor coverings, and finely crafted porcelain and ceramic tile make any room a statement of your refined taste. Ted’s features ULTRA LIFE® carpet by STAINMASTER® as well as other popular brands.
In addition to flooring, Ted’s also can help you finish your home with window treatments and furniture, offering the superior brands of Hunter Douglas, C. R. Laine and Carole Fabrics. Ted’s Flooring and Design Center guarantees excellent workmanship and quality service at affordable prices.
Empire State Stone
2053 Central Avenue, Colonie
Empire State Stone is committed to providing our Capital District customers with the finest granite, quartz and natural stone products available. Whether it’s a kitchen counter top, bathroom vanity, or a more complex custom fabrication, our team draws upon many years of professional service and experience to ensure your project is a success. Natural stone brings not only aesthetic beauty but substantial value to your improvement plans. We recognize our clients are not merely making a purchase but an investment. Having worked with the most prominent suppliers throughout the NY Capital District (and most of the northeast) we offer a high level of insight.
Flatbook & Co.
PO Box 820 New Lebanon
888-735-4575 ; www.flatbookandco.com
Flatbrook & Co.is a design and build firm that provides services for the greater Hudson Valley area, Berkshires and New York City. We work with residential clients, as well as small businesses. Together, the team at Flatbook & Co. has over 50 years of experience in the design and construction field. They bring a unique approach to your project, providing the client with the ultimate benefits of their design sensibility, innovative construction methods and a strong environmental commitment. They understand the challenges of renovation, adaptive reuse and new construction and address their projects with intelligence, resourcefulness and sensitivity. Flatbrook & Co is an insured and bonded firm and is LEED AP certified for “Green” building.
Emerich Sales & Service
187 Valentine Road, Charlton; 399.8574
1369 Rte. 9, South Glens Falls; 636.5580
Are you ready for snow? Emerich Sales & Service Inc is! Why not stop by our Charlton store on Valentine Road or our South Glens Falls location on Rt. 9 (1 mile north of exit 17N off I-87) and check out our incredible assortment of snow throwers that can help you be ready too!.
At Emerich Sales & Service Inc., you can feel confident in your purchase because we carry top quality brands like Cub Cadet, Toro and Ariens. We service and perform warranty repairs on everything we sell and many brands that we don’t. Our prices can’t be beat; during “Cub Cadet Snow Days” take $50 OFF one of the most popular snow throwers (see our display ad). You’ll be ready with this machine when the snow starts coming down.
You may need to clear a short sidewalk or an entire parking lot. Whether big or small, we’ll have just the right machine to do it all. Our sales staff will match your snow removal needs with the appropriate machine. For really big jobs, the Charlton store carries Kubota tractors with loaders, backhoes and snow lower attachments. The South Glens Falls location carries Yanmar tractors, also with a full line of attachments.
Your satisfaction is our goal. We want you to come back to Emerich when you need a mower or a tractor or chainsaw. We hope you tell your friends or neighbors to see us for their outdoor power equipment!.
Both locations are open Monday, Tuesday, Friday 8am-6pm; Wednesday, Thursday 8am- 8pm; Saturday 8am-3pm; closed Sunday.
Ghent Wood Products
1262 Route 66, Ghent
Fall has already arrived in all of its glory and so now we have to think about getting ready for the winter—whether we want to or not! But for those who like the cold months, this point in the year affords you the time to work on fun projects. Ghent Wood Products has the materials that you’ll need to get creative around the house. Winter is a great time to work inside and to put new flooring down in your home, for example. Ghent Wood Products has locally produce native flooring, all of which is kiln-dried, tongue and grooved, planed, and it has backers for stability. It comes in widths from 2¼ up to 24” in some species. Our species range from ash and cherry to hard, soft and wormy Maple, from Red Oak to reclaimed heart/antique pine, as well as Eastern pine, to beautiful black walnut. So this winter, let us help you give your home a little TLC.
1664 Main Street, Pattersonville
Pattersonville Furniture Store has been delivering the finest furniture and quality customer service to the Capital Region for 79 years. This family-owned and operated business, located just west of Schenectady, has been helping customers with their furniture needs since 1936. Pattersonville carries over 30 lines of American-made solid wood furniture. Stop by our showroom at 1664 Main Street in Pattersonville and see our quality products. Pattersonville Furniture Store offers free delivery, free set-up, free removal, and free financing. Open daily from 10am-5pm; Thursday and Friday until 9pm. Closed Sunday.
CR Gas Logs & Fireplaces, Inc.
15 Drywall Lane, Voorheesville
CR Gas Logs & Fireplaces Inc. is an industry leader in the home improvement business, dedicated to providing outstanding workmanship, high-quality service, and competitive prices. Our long-term success is the result of a sustained effort to:
• Build strong relationships with our community through service
• Present comprehensive product information to our customers
• Offer quality products at fair prices
• Provide excellent customer service
CR Gas Logs & Fireplaces, Inc. knows it must “be in shape” to compete. CR has grown in both strong and weak economies. We can never take for granted that we have arrived.
L. Browe Asphalt Services Inc.
L. Browe Asphalt Services has served thousands of residential and commercial customers in the greater Hudson Valley. Our installations are built to last, with correct elevations and subtle detailing to ease the job into the land. Transitions are smooth with good, level flow, and slight changes in elevation to provide proper water drainage. We mill the end of the drive so that it retains its thickness and is not subject to being lifted up by plow equipment. The end product is a true, level, aesthetically pleasing job with artistic curves and superior function that completes and enhances the entire property setting. For more information and to request a free estimate call 479.1400 or visit broweasphalt.com.
The Davey Tree Expert Company
141 Wade Road, Latham
The Davey Tree Expert Company provides tree and lawn care services throughout the United States and Canada. Davey Tree’s Capital District office has been in operation since the early 1920s and covers a 50-mile radius of Albany. Davey’s services include: tree and shrub pruning and removal, planting, fertilization, and insect and disease management, lawn fertilization, weed and insect control and seeding. Backed by a dedicated team of scientists at The Davey Institute in Kent, Ohio, our ISA-Certified Arborists and Plant Healthcare Technicians have access to all of the latest findings in tree, shrub care and lawn care. At Davey, our first priority is to make each of our customers happy. Since 1880, we’ve been achieving this goal time after time, on property after property.
East Greenbush Window Coverings
601 New Loudon Road, Suite 4, Latham
Small business, big passion
East Greenbush Window Coverings was founded in 1987 by owner Lorraine Greaney. She began working in interior design and home furnishings out of a small in-home studio and, after many years, expanded and opened a studio in East Greenbush. Fast forward to today, and Lorraine has expanded again to a fresh, new, contemporary gallery on Route 9 across from Newton Plaza in Latham.
Specializing in custom window treatments, EGWC displays premium brands such as Hunter Douglas, Lafayette, Graber and Norman’s, as well as fabrics from Kravet, Lee Jofa, Candace Olsen, Robert Allen, Carole, Fabricut and others. They also carry beautiful hardware to complement any décor.
Hudson River Tractor Company
Various locations; 877.556.4384
Hudson River Tractor is a full-line John Deere Agricultural, Commercial and Consumer Turf dealer with four locations in and around the Capital Region in Schaghticoke, Clifton Park, Chatham and Fultonville. Hudson River Tractor carries agricultural equipment from John Deere, H&S, Krone, Oxbow, and Hardi, as well as Stihl hand-held pieces and Honda power equipment, including the industry leading walk-behind mowers and generators. We also provide after-market support with genuine John Deere and OEM parts, factory-trained technicians, and mobile service.
Hudson River Tractor—one company comprised of people strong in their backgrounds and expertise—provides complete solutions for your needs.
2 Commerce Park Drive, Wilton
Fall is the perfect time to re-seed your lawn or plant new trees and shrubs. Not too hot, not too cold. With the dry summer we just had and the very cold temperatures in the forecast for winter, now is also the time that you should be giving your trees some extra water to help them survive the harsh winter weather. Just as you wrap delicate bushes, giving your trees, especially the younger ones whose roots are not well established, extra doses of water will help them to prepare for the worst. Put the hose on a slow trickle and give each tree 30 minutes or so every few days. They will thank you in the spring.