While winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, the snow and cold weather have arrived earlier than expected in London. If the first snowfall of the season caught you off guard and you weren’t quite ready, we’re sharing a few tips to help you prepare for the winter season ahead.
Prepare your home for winter
Preparing your home for the snow and cold weather is the best way to protect against damage that may occur due to freezing pipes. “Unfortunately the Leak Allowance program and many home insurance policies will not cover water bills from a failure to winterize your home properly, so avoid the property damage and financial stress by making sure you’re ready for winter,” says Daniel Hsia, Water Demand Manager at the City of London.
- Stop your faucets from freezing. It is important to winterize your outdoor faucets to prevent them from freezing as freeze damage can destroy the faucet or lead to a burst pipe. Check to see if you have a frost free faucet. Not sure how to tell? A rule of thumb is that if the faucet has a knob that’s perpendicular to the house its frost free. This knob, turns a stem inside the faucet that closes a valve inside, directing the water away from the outside of the house back into the inside of the house where it’s warm. It still however, is a good practice to shut your outdoor water off during the winter.
- Haul away your hoses. Disconnect all garden hoses from any outdoor faucets, if you leave your garden hose attached to the faucet all winter, your faucet and hose can freeze causing damage and may even lead to a burst pipe.
- Shut off your sprinkler. To prevent frozen pipes or leaks it is important to winterize your irrigation system. Check your systems manual for specific details about your irrigation system or consult with your irrigation company for more information.
- Evacuate your eaves. Clean your eaves troughs from any debris such as leaves, twigs, and bird nests which could cause water to collect, freeze, and eventually damage your eaves or roof. To clean your eaves simply sweep the debris out of the trough using a ladder and your hands or a small broom.
- Batten down your barrels. If you have a rain barrel, it is important that you disconnect it from your eaves trough system in the winter to prevent freezing in your eaves trough and in your rain barrel. Rain barrel freezing can often lead to the barrel expanding too far and breaking. If you do not have an indoor or covered area to store your barrels for the winter, simply flip them upside down to ensure no water will be held inside of them. Once you disconnect your rain barrel don’t forget reconnect your downspouts to ensure winter precipitation flows away from your foundation.
Winterize your vehicle emergency kit
If you already keep an emergency kit in your car be sure to winterize it by adding a few items that will be useful for any roadside emergencies that might happen over the winter. Items like a shovel or sand can help you get back on the road, while blankets and snacks for energy will be important should you become stuck for a long period of time in the cold. Check that all the items in your kit are in working order and replace things like food, water and batteries. If you don’t already have an emergency kit ready, consider preparing a kit that will help you get through the first 72 hours of an emergency. While the goal is that you wouldn’t ever need to use these items Canadian winters can be difficult and unpredictable so preparation is important.
Help a new Londoner
Have neighbours that are new to London and not familiar with what to expect over the winter in southwestern Ontario? New Londoners may not be familiar with the winter elements, from what to wear to stay warm to how to deal with colder temperatures. Simple acts such as reaching out and helping neighbours prepare for the winter can go a long way.
Be a good neighbour
Feeling overwhelmed by these sudden snow storms? Your neighbours probably are too. It’s important to remember that City crews remove snow on the public right of way, but we don’t deploy plows on local streets and sidewalks until we see 10cm and 8cm respectively of snow across the city. This winter, we encourage you to work closely with neighbours to find common solutions. Simple actions, such as shoveling your driveway and the sidewalks in front of your home, and your neighbour’s home, no matter how deep the snow is, improves mobility for everyone.
Stay up-to-date on snow removal updates at london.ca
The City of London shares snow removal updates and, during heavy snow events, delays and/or closures of community centres and seniors satellites online. Find the information you need to know before leaving your home by visiting london.ca/snow, calling 519-661-CITY(2489) or by checking social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram regularly.
Take extra care in construction zones
While crews work, they're also cognizant of those walking and wheeling nearby. As a pedestrian, uneven surfaces may be hidden under snow. Temporary paths may become slippery and, in heavy snow events, constricted passages may not be immediately cleared of snow due to equipment restrictions. Crews will do their best to clear the way, but pedestrians are reminded to take extra caution in these areas as weather conditions change.
Watch for overnight parking restrictions
There may be times during the winter months when an overnight parking ban is put into effect to allow for snow clearing on city streets. During an overnight parking ban, a message will be posted on the overnight parking registry notifying that the restriction is in place. Londoners that use overnight parking passes are reminded to please check prior to parking your vehicle on the street if you have previously applied for an overnight pass as parking enforcement will occur during a snow event.
See more helpful tips to prepare for snow events and make the most of the winter season in London.