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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

PICT0121Is naming our winter storms really necessary? I mean, we’ve gotten by for centuries without attaching a name to a significant amount of snowfall, so why for the past year has the media been giving them names? Are winter storm names designed to keep people informed or are they a convenient ploy by the media to up their ratings? Maybe a bit of both?

Who Decides What to Name Winter Storms?

The Weather Channel, with the help of a high school Latin class out of Montana, has compiled a list of names to be attached alphabetically to what the channel refers to as “noteworthy winter storms.”  For a peak at these names and what they stand for, visit weather.com and wait for winter to deposit one of these named storms near you.

Why are Winter Storms Named?

The Weather Channel cites safety as one of the reasons for naming winter storms. Much like hurricanes, a winter storm with a name attached to it garners a lot more attention. They are also easier to follow from one region to the next and seem to get people talking on social media a plus for the station and other media outlets.

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Beaulieu IndustriesWe’ve all been there. We’re running late for work, school or picking up the kids from daycare and there’s a plow truck in front of us crawling at a snails pace. We sigh, slam our hands on the steering wheel and glance at the time all while saying come on, come on. Should you blow the horn? Make a pass?

No, unless it’s a two lane road and there is plenty of room to safely make a go around. Chances are if you’re out braving the storm with the public works department, the roads are slick and narrow as it is.

The best advice is to slow down and be patient. If you are attempting a pass on a two lane road, make sure you can see who’s coming at you and behind. The last thing you want is to cause a crash or end up in the ditch – then you’ll really be late to wherever it is you’re going.

Safety Tips for Following Snow Vehicles

  • Remember, if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you
  • Drivers have a limited view in their trucks, so they may not see you
  • Snow plows can extend up to several feet beyond the truck
  • Leave room for plow trucks no matter which lanes they are traveling in
  • Chances are, the plow will cross over the center line or lane divider
  • Watch out for snow flying up and around the plow truck, it will reduce visibility
  • NEVER pass on a hill, curve, bridge or ramp
  • Not all snow vehicles are city vehicles (many cities use local contractors for snow work)

Please remember that plow trucks and city sanders are out working hard to keep our roads, schools and city parking lots clean and clear, and most importantly, safe for us to use. After all, we at Beaulieu Industries should know, we’ve been plowing for the city of Lewiston for over 30 years and we’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to winter and road safety in Maine.

Report an Issue (Lewiston, ME Only)

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Fall is here and before the ground freezes, there are a few things you can do to prepare your septic system for winter. Consult your septic pumping schedule to see if your tank needs pumping, check the system cover and take a few measures to prevent the drainage field and tank from freezing.

#1: Have Your Septic System Pumped

One of the most important ways to prepare your septic for winter is to have it pumped, and by that I mean remove the waste inside. If you live in the north this needs to be done before the ground freezes and the snow falls. Contact a local, qualified expert to pump your septic and never open your septic yourself – this is very dangerous for the inexperienced.

Think back to the last time you had your septic pumped; how long has it been? If you’re not sure whether or not your septic needs pumping before the winter, consult this free guide to Figuring Out Your Pumping Schedule. On average, septic systems should be pumped every 3 to 5 years depending on their waste capacity and size of the household.

#2: Check the Septic System Cover for Damage

The cover to the opening of your septic system should be sturdy, visible and free of damage. It’s best to have the cover of your tank level with the grade. This makes it easier to see. Next time you have your tank pumped or maintenance performed, ask the expert to check the cover for soundness. No one should be able to fall through the cover and it shouldn’t move or sink when in place.

The purpose of checking the cover is to ensure safety. Not only can this be done as you prepare your septic for winter, but anytime throughout the year. If you have any concerns about the safety of your cover at anytime, contact an expert in your area to check on its soundness and he or she will tell you if it needs repair or if it should be replaced all together.

#3: Prevent the Drainage Field and Septic Tank from Freezing

In the north we get freezing temperatures and snow; usually lots of it. In some cases, we get freezing temperatures but there is no snow in site. During frigid periods with no snow, drain fields are more likely to freeze. Why? Snow cover acts as a natural insulation. One way to prevent a frozen drain field from happening as you prepare your septic for winter is to stop mowing the grass over the field in late September. This allows the grass to grow a little longer providing some winter insulation.

If it’s too late in the season for you to do this or there is no grass over the drain field, spread a thick layer of mulch to provide insulation. Spread the mulch so it’s about a foot deep. If the septic tank itself has no grass cover, spread mulch over it as well at 1 foot deep and 5 feet past the tanks edges.

It’s important to keep using your septic in the winter, if you’re closing up a cabin etc. for the season then that’s another story, so if you’re going to be out of town for a while, have someone come in and flush the toilet or run the sink a few times. This helps keep the septic in working order.

Image: Niteshift/Wikimedia Commons

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Winter is an unpredictable time of year. When the snow flies and a winter storm warning is broadcast, many of us rush to the grocery store in preparation. While that’s fine and dandy, there is another way to prepare for an immobilizing storm; a winter emergency kit.

A winter emergency kit contains needed supplies to get you through at least 72 hours of no power or phone lines. Your kit should have essentials such as food and water along with other needed supplies. Keep your kit in an easy to reach place should you need to evacuate in a hurry.

When a winter storm warning is broadcast, check your winter emergency kit to make sure it contains the essentials. Assemble all medications in one place in case you need to get out of the door in a hurry.

Types of Food to Put in Your Winter Emergency Kit

Always have a 3 day supply of non-perishable food in your winter emergency kit. Choose foods your family likes and foods that do not require cooking. Does anyone in your family have allergies or special dietary needs? Keep those in mind while stocking up and don’t forget the can opener.

  • Canned Goods
  • Ready to Eat Meats (i.e. tuna, chicken)
  • Veggies
  • Fruit (sugar free/light syrup)
  • Dry Goods
  • Granola/Protein Bars
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Low-Sodium Snacks
  • Dried Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Water (1 Gallon per member of household per day)
  • Vitamin Water
  • Baby Food/Formula (if needed)

Other Winter Emergency Kit Supplies

Think of the individual needs for each member of your household and include items in your winter emergency kit accordingly. It’s a good idea to include a few games or books if you have children.

  • Can Opener (manual)
  • Utensils (can be disposable)
  • Plates (can be disposable)
  • Paper Towels
  • Matches
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Portable Radio (battery operated)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sanitary Wipes
  • Trash Bags
  • Anti-Bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Small Hand Tool for Turning off Appliances
  • Feminine Hygiene Products (if needed)
  • Candles
  • Personal Needs Items
  • Diapers
  • Pet Food
  • Warm Blankets (1 for each member of household)

What other foods or supplies can you think of that should be part of a household winter emergency kit?

Preparing for & Surviving Winter: A Homeowner’s Guide

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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The Maine winter is temperamental to say the least. We often experience lots of snow followed by warmer days and nights that dip below freezing. Many of us think nothing of snow piling up on the roof.

However, when snow piles up and eaves are colder than the roof and snow begins to melt, an ice dam can occur. Warmer roof temperatures send snow melt down the roof where it freezes and builds up along the eaves.

If you see a layer of built-up ice along the eaves (edge of the roof), you have an ice dam. This can cause water to leak into your home because when snow melts from the top of the roof down, the water has nowhere to go and becomes trapped above the ice dam.

Eventually, the pooled water finds somewhere to go – through the roof and into your home. The good news, leaky roofs resulting from ice dams can be prevented.

Prevent an Ice Dam

During the Maine Winter: Keep your roof shoveled. Roof rakes are a great tool for getting the job done.

Before the Maine Winter: Make ceilings as air tight as possible by sealing any leaks. This will prevent warm, moist air from flowing out through the roof. Insulate attics and crawlspaces as well.

After making your ceilings air tight and insulating your attic and crawl spaces, you’ll probably notice more snow building up on the roof. This makes keeping your roof clear of snow to prevent an ice dam even more important.

What to do When an Ice Dam Causes the Roof to Leak

If an ice dam sends a torrent of water into your home or you notice any leaking, make several outlets in the ice dam to let melting snow escape the roof. You can do this using hot tap water. Outlets should last a few days.

Next, remove any snow buildup directly above the area of the roof that is leaking. This move slows down the amount of snow melt available to leak through.

Using sharp objects such as chisels and axes to get rid of an ice dam is never a good idea. Poking a whole or damaging the roof will only cause you more problems. If you cannot get rid of the ice dam yourself or the situation has gotten out of hand, contact a local roofing company and see if they offer ice dam assistance.

If you live in Maine, the cooperative extension has help available. For out of stators, contact your cooperative extension for ice dam resources and assistance.

Winter Guides

Prepare for Winter: A Homeowner’s Guide

Winter Troubleshooting: A Homeowner’s Guide

Preparing for & Surviving Winter: A Homeowner’s Guide

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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A home improvement project may do the trick to snap you out of those wintertime blues. Many of us spend a lot of time indoors during the colder months. During that time we tend to notice what needs a good dusting and which rooms in our homes could use some sprucing up.

Below are a list of home improvement ideas that are great for taking on in the winter. Opt for a home improvement project that fits your budget, needs, and style. Make changes on the cheap, completing redo a room to add value to your home, or turn your basement into something else.

4 Simple Winter Home Improvement Projects

Winter doesn’t mean you can’t take on a home improvement project. We wouldn’t recommend putting in new windows this time of year but we do recommend  undertaking some simple home improvement projects that are do-it-yourself and budget friendly.

Why not change the interior trim or replace the hardware in your kitchen or bathroom to give the room a quick and easy redo? How about installing a programmable thermostat or insulating your water heater to save on money and energy?

3 Cheap DIY Home Improvement Projects

Need some help getting through the winter? Why not take on a DIY home improvement project that won’t cramp your style or empty your wallet?

There are several cheap ways to make your home look better and feel more like you. Put a new coat of paint on the walls, add a focal point to any room, or organize your space to make it more inviting and efficient.

3 Winter Home Improvement Projects That Add Value to Your Home

Ready to take on a home improvement project this winter? There are several ways to spruce up your home and add value to it. If doing a complete overhaul is out of the question then there are several small home improvement projects that allow you to redo a room in economical steps.

Redoing a room in steps is easier to fit into a budget and makes redoing a room less overwhelming. Start with a small DIY project or go big, that’s up to you.

Basement Remodeling: A Great Home Improvement Project for Winter

Need a home improvement project to keep you occupied this winter? Why not remodel the basement? Maybe your basement is an inspiration for a horror movie and needs to be completely redone or you’d like to make a small section of the basement your own.

If you’re going to hire a general contractor to remodel the basement, winter is the perfect time to do so because winter is generally a slow time of year for contractors. Scoring a contractor and getting him all to yourself shouldn’t be too hard.

Image: cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Need a home improvement project to keep you occupied this winter? Why not remodel the basement? Maybe your basement is an inspiration for a horror movie and needs to be completely redone or you’d like to make a small section of the basement your own.

If you’re going to hire a general contractor to remodel the basement, winter is the perfect time to do so because winter is generally a slow time of year for contractors. Scoring a contractor and getting him all to yourself shouldn’t be too hard.

Basement Remodeling Ideas

Chances are if you’re going to undergo some basement remodeling as your winter home improvement project, then you already have some ideas in mind. If that’s not the case, consider the following uses for your basement.

Bedroom • Computer Room
• Craft Room • Den
• Game Room • Gardening Room
• Hobby Room • Laundry Room
• Library • Living Room
• Office • Play Room
• Reading Nook • Sewing Room
• Storage Area • Study Area
• Wet Bar • Wine Cellar
• Workshop

Basement remodeling will take some time and money. Undergoing this type of home improvement project during the winter is a great way to keep from going stir crazy. Come spring, you’ll be able to enjoy your basement the way you’ve always wanted.

Image: Keerati / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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