WARRENSBURG — With ice, freezing rain, snow and sub-freezing temperatures expected over the weekend, local hardware stores have stocked up on items to help area residents prepare.
Westlake Hardware offers these helpful tips to prepare for the impending winter storm:
• Choose melting agents wisely. Keep your sidewalks and driveways safe with ice melt. You don’t need to use a large amount to get the job done. In fact, if you layer ice melt too thickly, it will puddle and leak into your yard, with the potential to damage your lawn. Never use ice melt on concrete less than one-year-old.
• Choose pet-friendly melting agents. Regular ice melt can irritate a pet’s footpad and if ingested, can cause stomach upset. Safe Step Ice Melt is safer for pets, won't harm lawns or carpet, melts ice non-corrosively and is formulated for a lower environmental impact.
• Get a grip. While melting agents melt ice, sand does not. It provides traction on slippery areas. Use sandbox (not mason’s sand) to create traction on ice in problem areas. Kitty litter is another good option, especially when poured under a car tire for additional traction.
• Use a spreader for better coverage. Once you have your melting agent selected, use a broadcast spreader (the same one you use to spread fertilizer on your lawn) to evenly distribute on large surfaces such as a driveway. For sidewalks and other narrow spaces, use a hand-held spreader, which has a smaller broadcast radius and more direction control.
• Be road-ready. Nothing is worse than waking up to a car covered with snow and ice. Take precautions by covering your windshield with a tarp or a piece of cardboard to reduce time spent scraping. Other wintertime essentials for any vehicle owner include lock de-icer, windshield fluid rated -30 degrees and of course, a dependable ice scraper with a sturdy blade and a comfortable grip.
• Prepare your pets. Take care of outdoor pets by buying a heated water bowl for dogs or installing a heating element in your ceramic birdbath.
• Stock up. Purchase in advance all the necessary tools to clear sidewalks and driveways such as snow shovels, salt or sand and windshield deicer.
• Create an emergency kit. In case the power goes out, or you are unable to leave your home, prepare an emergency kit with items such as a battery-powered radio, cell phone charging brick, flashlights, extra batteries, candles and matches.
• Disconnect all hoses and insulate outside faucets. Foam faucet covers are inexpensive and very easy to install. They come fully assembled and can be reused each season.
• Insulate water pipes. Check areas of the home where pipes are prone to freezing such as a bathroom that has an outside wall, crawl spaces, attics and garages. Use foam pipe insulation or insulating tape to cover the entire length of the exposed pipe
• Keep the cold out. Boost your home’s ability to hold in heat by applying weather stripping around doors and windows or install a plastic window insulation kit.
• Keep the air circulating. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
• Let it run. Leave a trickle of water running in pipes that have a tendency to freeze and when going out of town, set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Keep the pump running. Keep the pumps running if you have a pool or hot tub, while temperatures are below freezing.
• Insulate. Insulate your sprinkler system pipes and backflow prevention device.