Posts Tagged With: cold weather basics

8 Ways to Get Ready for Winter Snow Removal

Winter Snow RemovalBring on the snow! The official start of winter is almost upon us (the season starts in our area on Monday, December 21, 2015 at 11:49 PM EST). Do you have the proper snow removal equipment? Are you stocked up with de-icer and sand? Can your power equipment handle what winter storms deliver? We have some answers right here.

  1. Have a variety of tools to help remove snow: Keep shovels, scoops, scrapers and roof rakes on hand to help you tackle the white stuff and ice build-up. Every storm brings different conditions to your neighborhood, so having a variety of tools handy allows you to roll with the punches. You’ll want something to help melt the ice, like rock salt or de-icer, and something to provide traction on those slippery driveways and sidewalks.
  1. Find the right shovel for you: Looking for a new shovel this season? Find one that fits you. You don’t want one that causes you to bend down to use it. Steel shovels are the most durable and the heaviest. Plastic is lightweight and will likely make it through just one winter. Aluminum shovels are lightweight, somewhat durable and have a tendency to bend if they hit a hard chunk of ice. Pay attention to the handle. Look for one made of wood, aluminum or fiberglass and that fits your hand size.
  1. Try pushing the snow, not lifting it: When shoveling, think push not lift. “Bulldozing” the snow off is easier on your back. When you do have to toss snow, lift with your legs. Don’t try to pick up a large amount of snow in the spade. Walk over and deposit the snow where it needs to go rather than tossing it. Repetitive movements like throwing snow in one direction can cause injuries to the shoulders, arms and back. Mix up your techniques – push, deposit, toss.
  1. Prepare for outdoor chores: Dress in layers, hydrate and take frequent breaks while doing outdoor winter chores. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually easier on your body to tackle light layers of snow a couple of times rather than one deep layer after all the snow has fallen. Stretch your muscles prior to and after shoveling. Most importantly, know your limit. It’s driveway snow not Mount Everest.
  1. Take stock of your equipment: Prefer a snow blower to shoveling? Just remember your power equipment has been sitting dormant for a while so crank it up prior to a big snowfall. Give it a good cleaning and tune up. If last winter was too much for old faithful, consider an upgrade. Keep in mind what kind of surfaces (driveways, walkways) you will be cleaning and how much snow your area typically gets. There are two types of snow blowers:
    1. Single stage: lightweight and easy to use, handles up to a foot of snow
    2. Two stage: can handle up to 18 inches of snow, many come with power driven wheels to help with steep inclines
  1. Use de-icer to help with icy surfaces – Keep a good de-icer on hand to help loosen up ice build-up on your surfaces. A de-icer is not meant to totally melt your driveway clean but it will make it easier for you to shovel off. Rock salt is a cheaper option but it can be harmful to pets and the runoff can change the PH balance of your landscape.
  1. Sand helps you get a grip: Once you have cleared the driveway, spread sand or birdseed, which provides better traction for foot traffic. Clay kitty litter is also an option but it can damage floors and carpets if tracked into the house.
  1. Humidifiers help with dry indoor air: After a long day of shoveling outside in the cold, wet snow, it’s great to come inside where it is warm and dry. Furnaces and fireplaces make interior air perhaps too dry, causing everything from sinus issues to cracked skin. Running a humidifier will add moisture to the air and help family members stay healthier and more comfortable.

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Don’t be left out in the cold this year. Preparing for winter weather now will help you manage whatever Mother Nature throws at you. So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Expert Advice

From snow blowers and shovels to de-icers and humidifiers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment to manage the winter weather. Runyon Equipment Rental is a proud dealer of Honda snow blowers. To learn what to look for in a snow blower, read How to Choose a Snow Blower That’s Right for You. Another post, Cold Weather Basics – Your Guide to Snow Removal, offers additional info on how to safely remove snow.As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, DIY Projects, Featured Products | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improve Your Home’s Heating This Winter with Storm Doors & Ceiling Fans

Installing Winter Storm Doors & WindowsThis winter, with the high cost of heating on everyone’s mind, improve your home’s heating efficiency by finding ways to stop heat loss and to better distribute the warm air coming out of your furnace and fireplace. Some of these solutions are right in front of you.

Shut the Front Door

Even though today’s fiberglass and steel front doors are more energy efficient, switching a screen door to a storm door could help cut down on energy bills, just not the way they used to. However, storm doors can help:

  • Protect the Front Door – Entryway doors can be costly and storm doors keep rain and snow off of them, extending their life.
  • Add Security – A locked storm door can add protection when you open your front door to a stranger.
  • Protect Visitors – There’s nothing worse than opening the front door and getting a face full of rain or snow. It’s nice to have a buffer before venturing out.

Avoid Trapped Heat

Some front door manufacturers will recommend not using a storm door, especially if it will be receiving several hours of daily direct sunlight. Heat can build up between the two doors. Install a storm door with vents to allow the heat to escape. Add UV protective tinting to all glass storm doors.

Swap Panels for Different Seasons

During the spring and summer, storm door screens keep pests out and cool breezes coming in. In the fall and winter, swap out the screen for the glass panel. Just remove the plastic clips on the top, bottom and sides of the screen and gently pop it out. The glass insert slides in and you finish by replacing the clips around all sides. Clean the screen and store it to await the swap out in the spring.

Ceiling Fans Help Keep Rooms Warmer

Most ceiling fans have a switch on the motor assembly that you flip to change the turning direction. In the summer, blades that turn counter-clockwise produce a cool breeze that blows directly down. In the winter, blades that turn clockwise draw air up and out, helping to recirculate the warmer air sitting at the ceiling.

  • Spread Warm Air Around – Hot air rises and often leaves pockets of cold air throughout rooms. Ceiling fans redistribute the warm air from a central source, such as a fireplace or wood stove, to reach other areas of the house.
  • It’s Hot Upstairs and Cold Downstairs – If you own a two story home with a central open staircase, you know how warm it can get upstairs while the rooms downstairs remain cold. Install a ceiling fan at the top of the stairs. It can help redirect some of the heat rising upstairs back to the ground floors.

Try Insulated Drapes

Check for air drafts around windows and doors. Caulk around windows to help seal them. Weather stripping can help eliminate leaks as well. For drafty patio and French doors – and also for windows – try installing insulated drapes that you close at night to keep the heat from escaping.

Stay Warm and Toasty This Winter

The goal is to stay warm and toasty this winter. Look for anything around your home that can eat into your energy efficiency. Every little bit helps. These simple DIY repairs will help you focus on more important things like how many marshmallows are going to go into your hot chocolate.

Expert Advice

From ladders to insulation blowers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right tools and equipment for your home improvements. For more helpful tips on how to keep the cold out, check our blog, Cold Weather Basics: Winterizing Window, Doors and Vents. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Fall Checklist, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

4 Cold Weather Basics: Winter Storm Emergencies (Part 4)

Are you ready for winter’s next storm emergency? We’re here to help you navigate all the challenges of the season with part four of a special edition on our blog, outlining the basics of cold weather preparedness. Today, we’re talking about severe winter weather readiness.

Winter storms can make the flow of every life stop short, dumping snow on roads and sidewalks over a few hours, to producing blinding blizzard conditions that last for several days. No matter where you live, you can also experience dangerously low temperatures, strong winds, ice, sleet and freezing rain during a winter storm – strong enough to knock out heat, electricity and phone service to your home, school or place of business – for days.

Winter Storm EmergenciesHome Emergency Kit

When a winter storm hits, homeowners can alleviate some of this immobilization and inconvenience by being prepared for severe winter weather in advance. Equip your home with enough emergency supplies to last four days without power or help. Include enough food and water, a first aid kit, batteries, flashlightsextension cords, battery powered clock/radio, a cellular phone, etc. Personal items such as cold-weather clothing for every family member, as well as a four-day supply of prescription medicines, blankets, toiletries and food and water for pets are also essential.

Personal Heat Supply

Make sure you have enough heating fuel in case regular fuel sources are cut off. If you have a wood stove or fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Buy or rent a power generator and know how to run it safely. Read “Your First Winter Must-Have: A Portable Generator” to learn more. Rent or buy space heaters that can run by generator or an alternate power supply such as gas or propane –to heat the air in your home as well as outside, if necessary. Review our infographic, “Portable Heaters: What You Need to Know.”

Add A Humidifier

Cold, dry winter air causes a variety of conditions in your home that can promote illness, as well as destroy property. Using a humidifier can raise low humidity levels 20 to 30 percent, helping to prevent colds and flu as well as bloody noses. Air moistened with a humidifier can help soothe the throat and bronchial tubes, reduce snoring, preserve the voice and moisturize skin. Humidified air protects wood floors and furnishings from splitting or cracking and keeps indoor plants healthier.

Using a humidifier will also make your home feel warmer. Experts say air with a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 10 percent humidity will feel like 67 degrees, but with 50 percent humidity, it will feel like it is 69 degrees. It will also control static electricity, with the added benefit of protecting electronic equipment from getting damaged. Humidifiers also monitor moisture levels in your home, discouraging too much moisture, which can contribute to the growth of bad organisms such as dust mites.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with the cold weather basics of winter emergency preparedness. For all other installments in this series, check out the post about snow removal, the post about insulating your home and the post about winterizing windows, doors and vents. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

4 Cold Weather Basics: Winterizing Windows, Doors and Vents (Part 3)

How much heat is lost through windows, doors and vents in the winter? We’re here to help you navigate all the challenges of the season with the third of a four-part special edition on our blog, outlining the basics of cold weather preparedness. Today, we’re talking about winterizing windows, doors and vents.

Winterizing Your Doors, Windows and Vents1. TLC for Drafty Windows

Windows let the warm sunshine into a room, and can also let heat escape to the outside. Even triple-pane glass windows can benefit from a little winterizing. Install storm windows, if you have them, or you can create an efficient – and less expensive – solution using plastic sheeting designed to insulate windows. Properly installed, plastic sheeting creates a seal with the glass, keeping moisture out and preventing heat loss, while the smooth, almost invisible seal lets the light shine in.

Cut the plastic sheeting a few inches larger than each window. Apply the sheeting to the inside of clean windows, using double-sided tape to secure it to the window sill and the wall. Apply heat to the plastic with a hair dryer or heat gun until the sheeting shrinks against the window and creates the seal. Trim any excess plastic if needed.

2. Weather-Stripping for Windows & Doors

Experts say homeowners can save up to 15 percent on energy bills by weather-stripping windows and doors. You can find many types of weather stripping at your local home center such as foam tape, sponge rubber, vinyl tubing, silicone air barriers, felt and V-strip or tension seals. Good for both windows and doors, these types of weather stripping peel and stick, fasten with screws, press into place or come attached to a metal or wood mounting strip. Most attach to the tops and bottoms of doors and windows with ease, working as a barrier against the elements. The V-strip uses a tension seal created by its “V’ shape.

Door sweeps are attached to the bottom, interior side of a door and use a strip made from nylon, plastic or vinyl, or a sponge brush to fill the space between the floor and door.

3. Try Register Covers

One of most overlooked winterizing projects is to cover central air conditioning AC vents, or registers. They are essentially large holes in the ceiling where heat can escape right into the duct work. Cover the air conditioning ducts using magnetic ceiling register covers. If the register is made from aluminum, you can make a cover from plastic and attach it with Velcro strips or even thin weather stripping. When it comes to floors, keep cold at bay by close foundation vents and covering them with Styrofoam vent covers.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with the cold weather basics of winterizing your windows, doors and vents. For other installments in this series, check out the post about snow removal and the post about insulating your home. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

4 Cold Weather Basics: Insulating Your Home (Part 2)

Cold Weather Basics Part 2 - Home InsulationProtect your home from winter’s wrath! We’re here to help you navigate all the challenges of the season with the second of a four-part special edition on our blog, outlining the basics of cold weather preparedness. Today, we’re talking insulation.

Winterizing your home with insulation is one of the most economical – and efficient – ways to save energy, keeping you and your family warm and toasty. In addition to caulking, weather-stripping and installing storm windows and doors (or covering them with plastic), adding insulation to walls and attics (even floors, basements, garages, barns, sheds or any place that provides shelter for your family and pets, livestock and equipment) can make a difference keeping warm air in and cold air out.

1. Twelve to 15 inches of roll insulation in your attic is one of the easiest ways to achieve insulation protection. Do-it-yourself insulating is simplified when you use an insulation vacuum and blower, which blow insulating foam into the area.

For more information on how to insulate your attic, read this blog post.

2. Consider closing off the attic using a sheet of plywood to cover the opening. To cut down on cold air leaking into the living space, create an airtight seal by attaching foam insulation pads to the back of the attic door and applying foam weather stripping tape around it, just as you would any other door. You can also install an insulated attic tent that fits over the pull-down stairs (if applicable).

3. Insulate pipes to keep them from freezing. Insulating hot water pipes will help decrease the cost of hot water, too. Cut pre-slit high R-value pipe foam to size and fasten it in pace with duct tape. Take it up a notch by wrapping (or re-wrapping) your hot water tank, using an insulation blanket and securing it tightly around the tank (tankless water heaters do not need this precaution). Seal air ducts in your attic and basement using a roll of HVAC foil tape, available at home centers. Simply wrap the tape around joints and secure.

4. One place you may not think about is your light switches and outlets. These holes in the wall are usually covered with thin plastic covers that probably provide little protection against cold air leaking into the living space. Install pre-cut foam gaskets underneath your light switch and outlet covers, which will act like weather stripping in the smallest places. Hey, every little bit counts!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with the cold weather basics of insulating your home. For the first installment in this series, check out the first post about snow removal. From insulation equipment, accessories and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Featured Products, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

4 Cold Weather Basics: Your Guide to Snow Removal (Part 1)

Cold Weather Basics Part 1 - Snow RemovalHow prepared are you for winter this year? We’re here to help you navigate all the challenges of the season with the first of a four-part special edition of our blog, outlining the basics of cold weather preparedness. Today, we’re talking snow removal.

From clearing walkways to freeing your car of snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice, keep your family and guests safe by stocking up on a few products that help you remove cold weather precipitation with ease. In addition to checking the anti-freeze in your cars, make sure to have extra on hand in the garage. Keep at least one window scraper in each of your cars and one in the garage, for hard-to-lift ice that can blur your line of sight while driving. If the locks on your car, or on your front door, get frozen shut, a spray can of deicer can help tremendously. It can also help free windows from ice, allowing them to open as usual.

Heavy Snow Removal

Large amounts of snow can be removed using a snow blower. The deicer can also help clear the machine’s moving parts of ice and compacted snow, along with a wire brush and a spray can of lubricant. Make sure to test the snow blower before a storm and keep the necessary spare parts ready in case they’re needed.

Whether you use a snow blower or not, there is almost always a need to shovel snow. An ordinary snow shovel can be a homeowner’s best friend this winter, as predictions for Arctic blasts in eastern United States remain pretty high. Maintain a shovel like any other piece of equipment, hammering out areas of the metal that get crumpled with use, tightening loose handles or removing burrs from plastic.

Take care of yourself, too. Here are four tips for safe snow shoveling:

  1. Prepare physically for the task. As with any physical exercise, stretch legs, back and shoulders before you start. Dress warmly in loose-fitting layers that come off easily as you exert yourself, but can be added quickly during a rest. Pace yourself and rest frequently, keeping hydrated. And when you’re done, stretch tired muscles once more, to avoid tight, inflamed body parts.
  1. Have a snow removal plan. Decide where you will dump the snow. Start by brushing off the cars then clearing around them, moving the first shovelfuls to the farthest edge of the driveway, so the last shovelfuls are moved the shortest distance. This way, you won’t have to move the snow twice, if it’s piled in the way of more snow that needs to be removed. Work in thin layers and several passes, which is easier and safer than hefting one over-heavy shovelful.
  1. Use a healthy technique. Shoveling snow is hard work. Use your large leg muscles to lift shovelfuls and push snow out of way as much as possible. Use your knees to squat, holding the shovel as close to your upper body as possible, protecting your back. Hold the shovel with two hands (one close to the blade) for better leverage. Get your shoulder muscles into the throwing action, avoiding a twist in your upper body as much as possible.
  2. Let Mother Nature help the melting process. After removing heavy snow from driveways, sidewalks and other walkways around your house, keep them clear with ice melt. Check if the ice melt you buy can be used on concrete (especially new concrete) as certain formulas can cause new concrete to fail. Then, let the strong winter sun do the rest.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with the cold weather basics of snow removal. From snow blowers to rent or buy, to shovels and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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