GIMME SHELTER- Winter worries: Be prepared

Mike Jarrell
General Manager, Martin Hardware


Q:What are some essentials I might need to get at the hardware store to be ready for winter weather?

A: You're going to need a good shovel if you don't already have one. We recommend the popular "back saver" shovels with an angled handle, but you can get a molded plastic, steel, or aluminum shovel. Plastic or aluminum shovels are better for shoveling snow and ice off decks and concrete patios as they're less likely to damage surfaces. 

Too make shoveling easier, and to battle ice, you'll definitely want a supply of ice melt, a sodium and calcium chloride mix that melts snow and ice. Most brands are safe for use on wood, concrete, and grass, but it's best to spread it evenly instead of pouring it on, as it can stain and swell wood surfaces. If you know bad weather is coming, it's also a good idea to throw down ice melt before the storm, as it will make shoveling easier and prevent ice from forming. 

As colder weather approaches, check windows and doors for drafts, and make sure you have good weather stripping. You also might want to consider a door sweep to keep heat from escaping. Also, make sure all your hot water pipes are insulated or are wrapped with heat tape to prevent freezing. Of course, always have plenty of batteries and a good flashlight and consider having an alternate source of heat– like a kerosene heater– in case the power goes out.

Finally, don't forget to outfit your car with some winter survival gear. We recommend having a windshield ice scrapper (windshield de-icer works well, too), a portable shovel, a good blanket and a pair of gloves, a flashlight (in addition to the one in the house), a bag of cat litter or sand in case you get stuck, and some extra anti-freeze.