Helpful TipsWinter December 15, 2020

North Idaho Winter Driving

Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter. With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snowstorms!  Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the winter driving preparation tips below to help avoid winter sneaking up on you and those you love.

 

Preparation Tips for Winter:

Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:

  • Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster, and wipers
  • Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW

 

Know How to Drive in the Snow and Ice

  • Start your vehicle early and scrape your windows each morning before heading out. It will ensure you will have a clear view of the roadway and keep you warm
  • Be smooth and slow in steering, breaking, and accelerating. If you move the tires too quickly, they don’t have time to respond and you will end up sliding.car on snowy road surrounded of green trees
  • Drive for the conditions – that means drive slower, accelerate slower, don’t stop if you can avoid it since accelerating back up may be difficult and leave additional room between you and the vehicle in front of you (Keep in mind that the larger the vehicle the longer it will take for it to stop)
  • Do not use cruise control because if your car skids or hydroplanes it accelerates to maintain the vehicles speed which will make it very difficult to remain in control of your vehicle.
  • Accelerate from a stop in 2nd gear because there is less torque and you’re less likely to spin the tire.
  • Know how to handle a hill, do not power up the hill or stop on your way up.
  • Drive in the snow pack next to the road to get more traction if the road is too icy
  • Remember that all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles do not stop faster or steer better on ice
  • Slow down when you approach intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or anything that looks like it may be icy or where you will need to stop
  • If you end up behind a snowplow, slow down and give the plow extra room
  • Chain-up and removal areas are often where people are out of their vehicles so be sure to slow down and be vigilant in those areas

Practice driving in parking lots to learn how to handle your vehicle in a slide and get to know your breaks, that will help tremendously in a real-world situation.

 

Have Basic Winter Survival Kit & Basic Winter Travel Gear in Your Vehicle:

  • You never know what you will run into when you drive away from your home each winter morning, so it’s best to always be prepared. The checklist below will make sure you have everything you need.

What to Keep in Your Car – Checklist

Line of cars driving in snow

Know What to do in an Emergency:

  • If you start to slide, first thing to do is stay calm! Avoid sudden movements. Do not turn your tires quickly, accelerate or break suddenly, it can cause you to lose traction. Look where you want to go and steer that direction. If you start heading off the road, steer towards things that will cause the least amount of damage, such as an empty field or yard.
  • Find a roadside assistance company and plan that works for you. Check with your insurance provider and see if it’s comes with your plan or any possible discounts. Don’t forget to renew the policy! Many individuals let it expire and forget about it until it’s needed.
  • There may be a situation where you are stranded, maybe your vehicle broke down or you’ve slide off the road, and you need a tow truck or a ride. It’s good to have phone numbers saved in your phone in case you are at a location where you can’t access the internet. Below is a small list of tow companies and ride options in our area:
  • Schaffer’s Towing – (208)667-2330
  • Reliable Towing – (208)762-5151
  • Cole’s Automotive, Mobile Service, & Towing – (208) 83-3582
  • Al’s Towing – (208)265-8697
  • Coeur d’Alene Cab – (208) 667-9000
  • Collins Taxi(208) 704-0151

Note: Often with ridesharing options, such as Lyft and Uber, you must sign up and create an account to use their service. If you haven’t already, it would be a good idea for sign up for one, so you have another ride option.

 

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:

~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank because condensation can form in the empty portion of the gas tank. In cold weather, that condensation will freeze then collect into icy blockages in your lines and make it difficult to start your vehicle.

 

Empty road with snow on the ground

Plan With Your Family:

~ Create a plan that works well with your family in case an emergency happens, especially if you have younger drivers

~Go over it each year before the snow falls

 

Stay Informed:

~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages. Most local stations in your area will have weather alerts, but if you’re specifically looking for a weather channel, click here to find one in your area.
~ Check the weather frequently so you are prepared for its arrival

 

Check Your Tires:

~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm

~ Have the correct type of tires for the weather

~ Check tire pressure during cold weather. To do so, first find out what the recommended pressure is. Then after your tires have cooled, press the tire gauge directly into the tire vulvae and hold firmly (You should hear no air coming out). Based on what the gauge says, you could either release some air, add some or leave it. Check it frequently though winter.

 

Check out this video for additional recommendations and visuals to help with the tips listed above:

 

Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:

Get Ready for Freezing Temperatures & Snowfall

Get Ready for Winter Weather Driving

 

AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

 

 

Sources: Washington State Dept of Transportation, Take the Winter by Storm, US Forest Service, Osceola Garage, Your Mechanic

Best of CDACDA is AwesomeLife on the LakeOur Events!Our Great CityThings to Do and See in North IdahoWinter November 25, 2020

Eagle Watching

Bald eagles migrate each year and from November through February they visit us here in the Coeur d’Alene area. That’s due to the spawning kokanee and salmon in the lake that they feast on. These majestic creates are a marvel to watch and eagle watching is a great winter activity to do with your family.

Reasons To Eagle Watch

There are a million reasons to watch these marvelous birds as they hunt, nest and soar around the area. But here are just a few:

  1. Perfect Family Activity – People of every age enjoy watching these bald eagles. It’s a relaxing yearly activity you can do with your family and you are guaranteed to make forever memories.
  2. Educational Opportunity – You can learn so much about these birds just by watching them. And you can do some research before heading out and teach your children about why they’re here, what they feed on and their importance to North Idaho
  3.  Great Outside Time – During these winter months we tend to spend too much time inside, especially during this time of COVID. Eagle watching is a great opportunity to get outside to enjoy the fresh air and there’s plenty of room for social distancing.

 

Places to Eagle Watch

If you’d like to head out and find a place to spend to watch the eagles outside, there are 3 great places to go:

Higgins Point Address: N Idaho Centennial Trail, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Mineral Ridge Boat Ramp Address: 7608-7322, ID-97, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Mineral Ridge Trailhead Address: 9200 ID-97, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Lake Coeur d’Alene also offers 2 hour cruises with cruise boats that are heated so you can stay warm.

Lake Coeur d’Alene Eagle Watching Cruises – Check out the details by clicking here.

 

Eagle Watching Etiquette

Eagles are wild animals, so a human presence can stress the birds. Here are a few tips when eagle watching:

  • If watching from the roadside viewing location, stay in or near your vehicle.
  • Avoid loud noises
  • Use binoculars or spotting scope rather than trying to get closer
  • Don’t do something to try to make the eagles fly

Since eagle watching will occur mostly in the winter time and if you plan to view the eagles from outside, keep the following in mind:

  • Pull completely off the road
  • Park in designated parking areas
  • Be prepared for snow, ice & mud
  • Dress for the extreme cold, including any possible wind chill
  • Bring hot drinks and snacks

 

 

Safely and politely enjoy watching our friendly visitors over the next few months, before they’re gone!!

 

Credit: Bureau of Land Management, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, CDA Resort 

Helpful TipsHome & ProjectsWinter November 19, 2020

Away For The Winter? Keep Your Home Safe

If you head south for the winter, whether it just for a week on vacation or for the entire season, be sure your home is protected. A vacant home can be a target for thieves, damage or system malfunctions. Take these steps to safeguard your home.

 

Protect Your Home From…

1. Water Damagegray Nest thermostat displaying at 63

A burst pipe can cause significant damage if you are away for a long period of time. The first option is to completely turn off your water supply. Be sure to drain your pipes of all its water by opening the faucets and flushing the toilets. Think about pouring antifreeze into your toilets to avoid any remaining water from freezing.

The second option is to not drain your pipes but to keep your furnace running to avoid pipes from freezing. Keep the temperature to 55 degrees or higher to keep the floor and wall cavities, where the pipes are located, warm enough. Open cabinet doors open to keep the warm air circulating. If you’d like to be extra safe, you can add extra insulation around your pipes.

Shut the water off to your washing machine and dishwasher to avoid any leaks. Shut off and drain your outside water sources to avoid freezing. Additionally, turn off the heat source and water supply to your water heater.

 

2. Pests

Start by cleaning your home thoroughly to discourage pests. Then, move to your fridges and freezers. Throw out any food not in an airtight container. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, empty, clean & defrost your fridges and freezers. Leave the doors open to avoid mildew. Next, inspect your home, inside & out, including the foundation to ensure there aren’t any holes unwanted guests to enter. If you find one, seal it up. Chimneys and fireplaces are two important places you’ll need to get inspected.

 

3. Fires

Unplug any unnecessary appliances such as TVs, coffee makers, and ant small appliances to avoid any electrical fires or power surges. Consider having a licensed professional inspect your electrical panel, wiring and outlets and repair anything defective.

 

men's gray pullover hooded jacket4. Thieves

Avoid your home from looking unoccupied by having your mail forwarded or picked up. Hire somebody to shovel the snow from your driveway. Put your interior and exterior lighting on censors & timers and turn them on at varying times. Test your security system to confirm it’s in working order prior to your departure. Download an app to connect to your security system to monitor any changes while away. Secure your doors and windows with deadbolt locks. Create an inventory of your valuables or store them in a safe deposit box in case of a robbery or accident. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your property, to watch for any suspicious activity, pick up anything on your deck and park their car in your driveway every now and then. And lastly, don’t advertise your travels on social media and wait to post any pictures until you’ve returned.

 

Have fun while you’re away and don’t worry about what’s going on at your home since you’ve already taken care of it!

 

Credit: StateFarm, Travelers

Helpful TipsHome & ProjectsWinter November 16, 2020

Don’t Forget! Top 6 Overlooked Winterizing Tasks

As a homeowner, you likely already have a checklist of items you need to complete before the snow stays. But, there are a few items that you may have forgotten about. Don’t let these items go unchecked or you may have unnecessary headache and expense in the future. Below are 6 tasks that should be completed but many homeowners overlook.

Note: If you do not have a checklist of home maintenance before winter, take a look at ours here!

1. Drain Gasoline and Oil From Your Yard Equipment

Mowing your lawn may be the last thing on your mind right now. But, to ensure your power equipment still runs in tip top shape next year, drain the remaining gas and oil out. If gasoline or oil sits too long it could cause changes in the chemical composition which could lead to a number of problems. Read about how gas can go bad and how to identify it here.

Image result for clean weep hole"

 

2. Clean Your Window Weep Holes

There are many windows that have weep holes on the exterior bottom of the frame. Their purpose is to drain any water that collects in the frame’s bottom channel. But often times they get clogged with bugs or debris of some kind which could then spill into your house. First, test the weep hole by pouring water into the track. If it doesn’t steadily drain out, there is likely a clog. If that is the case, you could spray it out with compressed air or poke a wire hanger into the hole.

 

3. Drain Sediment From Your Water Heater

You should drain some of the water from your water heater every year otherwise sediment will collect at the bottom. With gas powered water heaters, this will cause hot spots that will damage the tank. With electric powered heaters, it could cause the lower heating elements to fail. So draining it once yearly will not only extend the water heaters life but also save you money on your energy bills.

 

4. Clean Dryer Vents

If your dryer vent is plugged, it could cause your dryer to run inefficiently or even cause a house fire. Before winter arrives, be sure to clean out your vent to prevent that from happening. It may not always be lint that causes the backup, there may be pests nesting or stuck exhaust hood flappers could also be the culprit. Each year, take the vent off the back of your dryer and clean it. You could get any debris out with a wet/dry vac or use a cleaning kit that can be purchased at home centers. Inspect your exhaust hood flappers to ensure they are in proper working order as well.

 

5. Check For High Water Pressure

High water pressure can cause issues with pipes, connections and appliances not to mention it wastes water. It is very easy to test to pressure, you just need to purchase a pressure gauge that hooks up to spigot or tub faucet. If the pressure is too high, just change the pressure reducing valve.

 

Image result for test sump pump"

6. Test Sump Pump

It’s best to test you sump pump twice a year to avoid your home flooding. It is very simple to test it, you just need to dump water into the basin to make sure it’s working. And be sure your pump has a vertical float switch.

 

 

 

Consider adding the above tasks to your winterizing checklist to help with any possible issues that may arise over the winter season.

Credit: Family Handyman, Do It Yourself 

Costs and SpendingHelpful TipsListings & Selling your HomeWinter February 5, 2020

Should I Sell In Winter?

We get asked that question frequently. Or if a property is already on the market, sellers often ask if they should take it off. There are arguments as well as pros and cons for both schools of thought. We’ll break down each side to help you make the decision on if you should list your home in the winter.

Pros

1. Less Competition

It’s as simple as supply and demand. If there are fewer homes to choose from, your home will get more activity and showings, in turn, more offers for more money. Additionally, when there are fewer options, buyers tend to be less picky.

2. Buyers Are Serious

Although there are typically more buyers in the spring and summer, the serious buyers continue looking in the winter. If a buyer is truly serious, it doesn’t matter the time of year. During the warmer months, people go to open houses just for fun, but in winter only the serious ones are out. And typically they have a pressing matter that is requiring them to find and close on a house quickly.

3. Online House Hunting Is Year Round

The internet has made house hunting from the warmth of your own home easier than ever. People are constantly looking at listings online. In fact, 93% of people use the internet in their home search and that’s how most begin. The only time they have to deal with the cold is to see the shortlist of their absolute favorites.

4. Agents Are Up To The Challenge & Motivated

Since the winter months are a bit slower, most real estate agents are also slow. If you choose to sell during the winter, your agent will be able to focus more on you. But, you want to be sure you get a good agent that’s up to the challenge. There are hurdles that need to be jumped when selling in winter and a good agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market the listings accordingly. They’ll know the current market in the area and be able to provide you with tips and suggestions.

5. More From Out Of Town Are Looking

During the holiday season, many family members come from out of town to visit. So, if they are considering relocating, they would look at homes when they’re in town. This often means they need to find a home fast and have a bit more financial flexibility. Additionally, people have more time off work and they take advantage of that by looking for their next home. Lastly, more people relocate for work in the first quarter of the year.

 

Cons

1. Curb Appeal Is Difficult

In the spring and summer months, it’s easier to show off the curb appeal of your home with flowers, landscaping, and daylight until 9pm. Winter poses a problem since everything is covered by snow, and typically not fresh snow. Homes listed in winter are often viewed with things looking drab and worn because everything is brown and gray. You could decorate for the holidays, which will make it more appealing. On the plus side, you won’t have to spend as much time meticulously working on your yard.

2. Weather Can Be Inconvenient

House hunting in winter can be a chore for the buyers. They’ll need to bundle up and endure the cold temperatures. Fresh snow can also be a traveling hazards for potential buyers, so they may choose to stay home for the day. Also, you’ll need to make sure your driveway and walkways aren’t slick or snow covered. Those who do come to look at your home can track in salt and possibility mud, which you will then need to take extra time to clean after each showing.

3. Buyers Have Limited Budgets

Near the end of the year, many people have their money tied up in other financial obligations such as buying holiday gifts, traveling, setting aside money to pay taxes, or making sure their own home and car are winter ready. With such a tight budget, more people may not be willing to invest in a new home.

4. Buyers Have The Negotiating Power

Most sellers will get multiple offers in spring and summer because there are more buyers. When there are less, some buyers may drive a hard bargain. They may even think that a seller is desperate for any offer and so they low ball them. And often times, the seller accepts because they are worried they won’t get another offer until spring.

 

If you have any additional questions or concerns about selling your home, in winter or otherwise, contact us! We’re here to help, know the market, and can list your home appropriately.

 

Credit: First American Home Warranty, LiveLoveHomes, MoneyCrashers

Best of CDAOur Great CityThings to Do and See in North IdahoWinter January 29, 2020

Tindall Top 3 – Snow

North Idaho is B-E-A-U-tiful and its known for its mountains, lakes and abundant beauty.  Its also known for it’s snow!   There is plenty to know about snow and here are some resources to tap into that will keep you informed and prepared.

 

Driving in the snowThe Statistics

In Coeur d’Alene the average amount of snow that falls is 42 inches, comparing that to the rest of the country with only 28 inches. Keeping in mind, the farther North you go, the more snow you will see. With Spirit Lake receiving approximately 52 inches a year and Sandpoint with 61 inches. December is typically the heaviest snowfall month with an average of 11.7 inches, and second heaviest is January with 10.4 inches.

But when?? You might hear horror stories of winters in North Idaho lasting half the year, and that’s not exactly wrong. Snow in our area can start as early as November. Unless you were here the record breaking year of 2019 when we received 1.1 inches of snow on September 29th, the most in September’s history. Before that, the last time the snow fell in September was in 1926 with 1 inch of snow. But, on average, you will typically see snow in November and it could last through April.

This is all just averages, there’s no telling exactly what the North Idaho winters will do! That means we need to be ready for everything.

 

Prepare

The Coeur d’Alene Police Department offers FREE winter driving classes. They typically begin in October and go through early December. If you’re new to driving in the snow or would like a refresher, check on the specific dates when the time comes next year.

Knowing how to drive in the snow is just part of it, you want to be sure your vehicle is ready for the snow as well. Check out our blog North Winter Driving Preparation for detailed information.

Our home is another thing we need to prepare when winter comes. Our website is always a great resource for this. Check out our Fall & Winter Home Maintenance page to prepare for winter and our blog 6 Overlooked Winterizing Tasks.

 

When Snow ComesPlowing Snow

Since North Idaho is used to getting so much snow, we are more than prepared when it comes! We have both the expertise and practice on our side! Check out the detailed information on Coeur d’Alene’s snow plan here. The City of Coeur d’Alene’s website also goes into detail on the Snow and Ice Control Operations and also has a map that shows you which roads are completed, getting worked on and getting worked on next. Check out the links below for snow information in your city:

Our blog post mention earlier, North Winter Driving Preparation, also has tips on how to drive in the snow. There are many other resources on the post, such as what to do in an emergency and a video which offers additional recommendations and visuals to help with winter driving.

 

SkiingThe Fun Part

Snow in North Idaho, although requires much work and preparation, is also fun! We have so many area ski resorts near Coeur d’Alene, check them all out with information about the mountain on our website here under the Area Information tab. And these resorts always have events to enjoy, check them out on our blog post Snow Much Fun! Be sure to check our What’s Happening page for the events happening in the area at all times, it’s updated regularly!

Also, take a look at our Winter category on our blog post here, which has all things winter!

 

FOR MORE ON SNOW FROM OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

 

Credit: Weather Atlas, CDA Press

Best of CDACDA is AwesomeOur Events!Our Great CityThings to Do and See in North IdahoWinter January 8, 2020

Snow Much Fun

Are you craving some snow fun this winter? We are, since there hasn’t been much snowfall! But, there is snow up in the mountains. And you may not know, the areas ski resorts often have fun events. Check out a few below and enjoy your winter with us.

 

 

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area

Image result for lookout pass resort

~ Wife Carrying Contest With Cash Prices ~ 3 Legged Race ~ Egg Carrying Contest ~ Day Of Family Fun ~

~ Push A Child 12 Or Under On A Sled Into Inflatable Pins ~ Prices For Winners ~ Brews & Brats Available From 11-2 ~

~ Ski & Board The Day Everybody Stays Home ~ Passing Competition with Gloved Hands ~ Kickoff Competition ~ Great Prices ~

~ Awesome Gumbo ~ BBQ ~ Drinks ~ Party Beads ~

 

 

Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Image result for schweitzer mountain resort

 

Image result for snowshoeing schweitzer

~ Fun Events Scheduled All Day, Everyday ~ Yoga ~ Snowshoeing ~ Twilight Skiing ~ Live Music ~ Fireworks ~

~ Free Access To Snowshoeing and Cross Country Skiing Trails ~

~ Race With Your Team of 5 ~ Nightly Parties ~ Prices ~ Theme is “The Great GatSKI!” ~

 

Silver Mountain Resort

 

Image result for silver mountain resort logoSlopestyle & Rail Jam!! – Feb. 1st & 2nd at 8:30amImage result for 10 barrel beer cat

~ USASA Kicking Off Their Season At Silver ~ Slopestyles Competition on the 1st ~ Rail Jam Is On The 2nd ~

~ Coolest Mobile Snow Pub Is Coming To Silver ~ Made From Putting A Mini-pub On A Snowcat ~ Enjoy Drinking On The Mountain ~

 

 

 

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park

Image result for mt spokane resort logo

~ Beer, Cider & Wine Tasting ~ 16 Different Breweries & Creators ~ BBQ ~ Live Music ~

~ Chairlift Speed Dating ~ Live Music ~

~ Celebrate Mardi Gras ~ Buffet Style ~ Southern Menu ~ Live Band ~

 

 

 

And More…

~ Blocking Off The Roads For Skiing & Boarding ~ Judges Determine Who Has Best Slopestyles ~ Cash Price ~ Beer ~ Music ~

~ Snowshoe & Fat Bike on Professionally Groomed Trails ~ Supports a Good Cause ~

~ Annual Winter Carnival ~ Fireworks ~ Parade of Lights ~ K-9 Keg Pull ~ Events Continuously Updated on Website ~

Image result for snowmobile races

~ Known as the “Wildest Event in the Rockies” ~ ATVs Tow Skiers Down a Snow Covered Downtown Street Course ~

~ Both Pro and Amateur Motorized Snow Bikers Race ~  Watch as They Complete a Grand Prix Course Around the West and Canada ~

~ Vintages Snowmobilers Race ~ Specially Designed Course ~

Helpful TipsHome & ProjectsWinter December 3, 2019

Don’t Forget! Top 6 Overlooked Winterizing Tasks

As a homeowner, you likely already have a checklist of items you need to complete before the snow stays. But, there are a few items that you may have forgotten about. Don’t let these items go unchecked or you may have unnecessary headache and expense in the future. Below are 6 tasks that should be completed but many homeowners overlook.

Note: If you do not have a checklist of home maintenance before winter, take a look at ours here!

1. Drain Gasoline and Oil From Your Yard Equipment

Mowing your lawn may be the last thing on your mind right now. But, to ensure your power equipment still runs in tip top shape next year, drain the remaining gas and oil out. If gasoline or oil sits too long it could cause changes in the chemical composition which could lead to a number of problems. Read about how gas can go bad and how to identify it here.

 

Image result for clean weep hole"

2. Clean Your Window Weep Holes

There are many windows that have weep holes on the exterior bottom of the frame. Their purpose is to drain any water that collects in the frame’s bottom channel. But often times they get clogged with bugs or debris of some kind which could then spill into your house. First, test the weep hole by pouring water into the track. If it doesn’t steadily drain out, there is likely a clog. If that is the case, you could spray it out with compressed air or poke a wire hanger into the hole.

 

 

3. Drain Sediment From Your Water Heater

You should drain some of the water from your water heater every year otherwise sediment will collect at the bottom. With gas powered water heaters, this will cause hot spots that will damage the tank. With electric powered heaters, it could cause the lower heating elements to fail. So draining it once yearly will not only extend the water heaters life but also save you money on your energy bills.

 

4. Clean Dryer Vents

If your dryer vent is plugged, it could cause your dryer to run inefficiently or even cause a house fire. Before winter arrives, be sure to clean out your vent to prevent that from happening. It may not always be lint that causes the backup, there may be pests nesting or stuck exhaust hood flappers could also be the culprit. Each year, take the vent off the back of your dryer and clean it. You could get any debris out with a wet/dry vac or use a cleaning kit that can be purchased at home centers. Inspect your exhaust hood flappers to ensure they are in proper working order as well.

 

5. Check For High Water Pressure

High water pressure can cause issues with pipes, connections and appliances not to mention it wastes water. It is very easy to test to pressure, you just need to purchase a pressure gauge that hooks up to spigot or tub faucet. If the pressure is too high, just change the pressure reducing valve.

 

Image result for test sump pump"

6. Test Sump Pump

It’s best to test you sump pump twice a year to avoid your home flooding. It is very simple to test it, you just need to dump water into the basin to make sure it’s working. And be sure your pump has a vertical float switch.

 

 

 

Consider adding the above tasks to your winterizing checklist to help with any possible issues that may arise over the winter season.

 

Credit: Family Handyman, Do It Yourself 

Helpful TipsWinter October 25, 2019

North Idaho Winter Driving Preparation

Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter. With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snow storms!  Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the winter driving preparation tips below to help avoid winter sneaking up on you and those you love.

 

Preparation Tips for Winter:

 

Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:

~ Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers

~ Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW

 

Know How to Drive in the Snow and Ice

~ Start you vehicle early and scrape your windows each morning before heading out. It will ensure you will have a clear view of the roadway and keep you warm

~ Be smooth and slow in steering, breaking and accelerating. If you move the tires too quickly, they don’t have time to respond and you will end up sliding.

car on snowy road surrounded of green trees

~ Drive for the conditions – that means drive slower, accelerate slower, don’t stop if you can avoid it since accelerating back up may be difficult and leave additional room between you and the vehicle in front of you (Keep in mind that the larger the vehicle the longer it will take for it to stop)

~ Do not use cruise control because if your car skids or hydroplanes it accelerates to maintain the vehicles speed which will make it very difficult to remain in control of your vehicle.

~ Accelerate from a stop in 2nd gear because there is less torque and you’re less likely to spin the tire.

~ Know how to handle a hill, do not power up the hill or stop on your way up.

~ Drive in the snow pack next to the road to get more traction if the road is too icy

~ Remember that all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles do not stop faster or steer better on ice

~ Slow down when you approach intersections, off-ramps, bridges or anything that looks like it may be icy or where you will need to stop

~ If you end up behind a snow plow, slow down and give the plow extra room

~ Chain-up and removal areas are often where people are out of their vehicles so be sure to slow down and be vigilant in those areas

Practice driving in parking lots to learn how to handle your vehicle in a slide and get to know your breaks, that will help

tremendously in a real world situation

 

Have Basic Winter Survival Kit & Basic Winter Travel Gear in Your Vehicle:

~ You never know what you will run into when you drive away from your home each winter morning, so it’s best to always be prepared. The checklist below will make sure you have everything you need.

What to Keep in Your Car – Checklist

 

Know What to do in an Emergency:

Line of cars driving in snow

~ If you start to slide, first thing to do is stay calm! Avoid sudden movements. Do not turn your tires quickly, accelerate or break suddenly, it can cause you to loose traction. Look where you want to go and steer that direction. If you start

heading off the road, steer towards things that will cause the least amount of damage, such as an empty field or yard.

~ Find a roadside assistance company and plan that works for you. Check with your insurance provider and see if it’s comes with your plan or any possible discounts. Don’t forget to renew the policy! Many individuals let it expire and forget about it until it’s needed.

~ There may be a situation where you are stranded, maybe your vehicle broke down or you’ve slide off the road, and you need a tow truck or a ride. It’s good to have phone numbers saved in your phone in case you are at a location where you can’t access the internet. Below is a small list of tow companies and ride options in our area:

Note: Often with ridesharing options, such as Lyft and Uber, you must sign up and create an account to use their service. If you haven’t already, it would be a good idea for sign up for one so you have another ride option.

 

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:

~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank because condensation can form in the empty portion of the gas tank. In cold weather, that condensation will freeze then collect into icy blockages in your lines and make it difficult to start your vehicle.

 

Plan With Your Family:

~ Create a plan that works well with your family in case an emergency happens, especially if you have younger drivers

Empty road with snow on the ground

~ Go over it each year before the snow falls

 

Stay Informed:

~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages. Most local stations in your area will have weather alerts, but if you’re specifically looking for a weather channel, click here to find one in your area.

~ Check the weather frequently so you are prepared for its arrival

 

Check Your Tires:

~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm

~ Have the correct type of tires for the weather

~ Check tire pressure during cold weather. To do so, first find out what the recommended pressure is. Then after your tires have cooled, press the tire gauge directly into the tire vulvae and hold firmly (You should hear no air coming out). Based on what the gauge says, you could either release some air, add some or leave it. Check it frequently though winter.

 

Check out this video for additional recommendations and visuals to help with the tips listed above:

 

Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:

Get Ready for Freezing Temperatures & Snowfall

Get Ready for Winter Weather Driving

 

AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

 

 

Sources: Washington State Dept of Transportation, Take the Winter by Storm, US Forest Service, Osceola Garage, Your Mechanic

FallHelpful TipsHome & ProjectsKeeping it Real - With John & Tracey September 11, 2019

Fall Home Maintenance

The purchase of a home will likely be the biggest invest anybody will make in their life. Our homes are the centers of our lives because they hold everything and everyone important to us. Our top priorities are taking care of that invest.  Winter is a harsh season here in North Idaho as a result it can cause some damage to our homes, properties, our loved ones, or even our wallets! It can be avoided if we take extra steps this fall or start of winter to prepare.

The next question is where do I start? Not knowing can be overwhelming and stressful. Below is just a small list of some important home maintenance ideas. Included is the reason you should do them. It can make a huge difference on your home and property this year.

 

 

Interior

  • Windows & Doors ~Image result for inserting weather strippingInstall cool weather storm windows & doors, repair and/or replace loose or damaged window or door frames and insert weather stripping or caulking around windows & doors. This will all keep your house better insulated through winter.

 

 

  • Heating Systems ~Replace the filter in your furnace and clean your ducts to help your furnace’s efficiency and help save money

 

  • PlumbingImage result for insulating pipes for winterBe sure your pipes are well insulated to help avoid freezing. You’ll also want to know where the water shut off valve is in case your pipes do freeze.  Be sure to remove hoses from hose bibs on your home in colder weather so that your bibs and frost fee bibs don’t freeze in the low temperatures, causing leaks in the warmer months.  

 

 

  • Ventilation ~Image result for checking attic ventilation Check the eave vents to be sure it’s clear of insulation and other debris to prevent mold.  Clean out your dryer vents to protect from possible ignition.  Close your foundation vents durning the fall and winter to keep pipes in your crawl space from freezing. 

 

  • Safety Devices ~ Now is a good time of year to check all your safety devices to be sure you can make it through winter. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers, test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (changing the batteries if necessary) and test your home for radon.

 

Exterior

  • Gutters & DownspoutsImage result for outside home maintenance in fallClean our your gutters and downspouts of debris to put a stop to any possible rot and to keep your gutters in proper working order

 

  • Chimney & Fireplace ~ Have a professional inspect & clean your chimney  to help avoid chimney fires. Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when it’s closed to prevent water getting into your chimney.

 

  • Landscaping & Outside Work Image result for outside home maintenance in fallTrim any limbs that are close to power lines, cover or store your patio furniture, check your walkways, stairs and driveway for easier winter navigation. To help promote yard growth, you could fertilize and reseed your lawn as well as prune your trees and shrubs.

 

 

  • Air ConditionersRelated imageIf you have a window AC unit, be sure to remove it and store in a dry play before winter. Or cover your AC unit with a piece of plywood held down by bricks. This will help protect the unit from falling debris but also continue to allow airflow. You don’t want to put a waterproof cover over it during winter because it creates a warm environment which attracts unwanted guests.