As we move further into this winter season, it's important that your home is prepared. Garages are especially exposed to the elements and require special care. Your car, storage, and recreational items could be at risk. This winter, make sure they're safe so once spring comes around, you won't have any unpleasant surprises. If you take care of your garage properly now, you can use it all year round.


1. Insulate the garage door

First and most importantly, you'll need to secure and winterize the garage door. Foam boards are simple to measure and cut as an extra layer of insulation behind each metal panel. You could also purchase a new insulated garage door to replace your flimsy old one. When maintaining automatic doors, double-check your batteries and wires. Lubricate all the metal parts to your door so that it's not stuck when you need it open. Ice will make it harder to open as well, so carefully chip away any accumulated ice before opening it. Weather stripping wears away each year, so make it routine to check your weather stripping around all doors and windows. V strips are simple to apply, but higher quality options will last longer. Your garage door requires heavy-duty stripping such as PVC stop molding. After your garage is insulated, you can consider buying a garage space heater. Portable heaters are perfect for continuing to work in your garage despite the cold. You'll continue to use the space all year round when you can control the temperature.


2. Take care of the plumbing

If any pipes run through your garage, you'll want to insulate them. Wrap them with tubular foam sealing and be sure to check the size of your pipes so that your insulation fits. If your hot water heater is also in the garage, buy a cover for it. At little cost, you can keep your pipes from freezing and causing serious damage. A good rule of thumb is to keep temperatures above 55°F throughout your house. Don't forget to cut off the water to your outdoor hose and put away your sprinkler systems in a dry environment while you're taking care of your fixtures. Also, cover your air conditioner unit to prevent drafts or store it in your garage right-side-up so that you can use it next year. If you leave it on its side, it may not be able to run when you go to turn it on in the summer time.


3. Organize and store outdoor furniture

Make room for everything you'll be putting into your garage from outside such as grills, furniture, and children's toys. Rather than waiting for spring cleaning, you'll want to take care of any extra junk now. Otherwise, pests will use your unwanted and disorganized stuff as a new winter home. To keep rodents and bugs out of your garage, store everything in a dry environment. Seal off any containers and bags to prevent critters from climbing inside. If any moisture is left behind, such as when you roll up your slip-n-slide, you could end up with a mosquito, flea, or water bug infestation. Keep all of your items dry and compact for winter storage.


4. Stockpile material for taking care of snow and ice

Before the snow hits, there are a few essential items you'll want to stock up on now rather than later when it's too late to go out and buy them. Stockpile rock salt for taking care of your driveway, sidewalks and steps. A snow shovel will be essential for digging around your property as well. A snow blower can help lessen your work, and now that you've freed up space in your garage, you'll know right where to store it. As the snow hits, you might find the garage to be a great half-way point between your home and the outdoors. Consider getting a coatrack, shoe rack and floormats for yourself and your family to track muddy snow no further than the garage.


5. Bonus: Winter Car Care

When it comes to your garage, it's just as essential that you care for your car. Here's a quick checklist to get your car ready:
  1. Check antifreeze levels
  2. Store sand to use as traction if you're stuck
  3. Keep extra fuel stocked
  4. Check your battery life
  5. Keep a windshield scraper and other snow removal tools stocked
It's also a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car in case you're ever stranded on the road or snowed into your own home. A first-aid kit will have the essentials such as band aids, antiseptics, and pain medicine. You'll also want to keep extra blankets in your car and a hand-crank radio in case your cell phone were to die. Once your garage and car are ready for the winter, you'll be excited to test your preparations come snowfall.


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