Whether Park City is your full time residence, occasional home, or especially if you just bought a new home and this will be your first winter in PC, now is the perfect time to start getting ready for winter weather.
It’s no fun to be rushing around once it gets cold, trying to take care of a multitude of chores that needed to be finished by the time the thermometer hits single digits or before the first big snow storm. While it doesn’t happen often, there have been those rare years when snow has fallen in October, and didn’t finally melt away until spring.
Procrastination can be expensive. New landscaping—trees and shrubs—can be killed by a sudden drastic drop to below freezing. You don’t want to be the 50th customer on a waiting list for a winterizing handyman (or woman). Even more important, you don’t want your roof ruined by water leaking under the shingles, nor do you want to find that you have a heating problem only after you and your family need to turn on the heat.
The first place to start is with a thorough home inspection. You can do it yourself, or hire a professional. Ask your Park City neighbors, or Marny, at Team Schlopy, for the name of a good pro.
Begin with the heating system, since that’s the most important element of staying comfy during winter. Was the furnace filter changed or cleaned before it was shut off for the summer? If not, get it done now. How long has it been since your fireplace was cleaned, including any rental property you may own? Every year, fire engines with lights and sirens blazing and blaring, are called to put out a chimney fire. Burning wood emits a kind of sap called creosote, which is extremely flammable.
Fireplaces should be inspected every year, even with minimal use. Get a ‘chimney sweep’ for this inspection. The sweep may suggest a cleaning to ‘sweep’ the creosote from the firebox and chimney liner, and will also locate any deterioration in the liner or other chimney materials that should be fixed for more efficient operation.
Next, inspect your roof gutters and roof depressions located around gables or room
divisions. Clear away any leaves or debris, most especially in the gutters. If they’re filled with leaves, there is no place for melting snow to go but under the shingles, leading to a leaking roof. Debris in roof ‘valleys’ will ice over and attract snow. When this melts, your roof will act like a water collector, rather than letting the water run off.
Trim back any tree limbs that are hanging over the roof so they don’t dump a load of heavy snow, or break off and damage the roof.
Check all the windows for drafts. This can be done by moving a lit candle along the window edges. If the flame flickers, and especially if it blows out, there’s a draft through which cold air will enter, even if you have heavy drapes. This can add hundreds of dollars to your heating bills over a winter season. Utility companies will sometimes send someone to check the seals around windows and roof vents, either for free or for a very nominal cost.
Finally, protect all fairly new (and expensive) landscaping by wrapping the trunks of newly planted trees with light-colored tree wrap. This prevents ‘sun scald’ by reflecting away burning sunshine, and also adds a layer of protective insulation against cold. Even evergreens need to be protected. Put down a six-inch protective mulch of straw or wood chips around the trunk of trees to prevent ‘heaving,’ the movement of soil from repeated
freezing and thawing in winter. This can thrust the root zone of young plantings right out of the ground, causing them to die off. Even if you don’t actually do the mulching right now, get the materials so that you have them ready when needed.
Park City is a wonderful place to live; but make sure it’s even more lovable by protecting your home against the potential ravages of winter. Email Team Schlopy for a list of recommended vendors who service the Park City area.