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SustainAbility Newsletter

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Window Stripping

1) Furnace Inspection

  • Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
  • Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
  • Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
  • If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
  • Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.

2) Get the Fireplace Ready

  • Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
  • If the chimney hasn't been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
  • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
  • Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.

3) Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows

  • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  • Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
  • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
  • If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
  • Switch out summer screens with glass replacements from storage. If you have storm windows, install them.

4) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

  • If your weather temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams. 
  • Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home. 
  • Replace worn roof shingles or tiles. 
  • Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris. 
  • Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

5) Service Weather-Specific Equipment

  • Drain gas from lawnmowers. 
  • Service or tune-up snow blowers. 
  • Replace worn rakes and snow shovels. 
  • Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment. 
  • Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt / sand. 

6) Check Foundations

  • Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation. 
  • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house. 
  • Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime. 
  • Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation. 
  • Secure crawlspace entrances.

7) Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Some cities require a smoke detector in every room.
  • Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends. 
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater. 
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work. 
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years. 

8) Prevent Plumbing Freezes

  • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency. 
  • Drain all garden hoses. 
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes. 
  • Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off. 
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees. 

9) Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces

  • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires. 
  • Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury. 
  • Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes. 
  • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks. 
  • Don't automatically remove dead vegetation from gardens as some provide attractive scenery in an otherwise dreary, snow-drenched yard.
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area. 

10) Prepare an Emergency Kit

  • Buy indoor candles and matches / lighter for use during a power shortage. 
  • Find the phone numbers for your utility companies and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book. 
  • Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment. 
  • Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if you have a pet), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location. 
  • Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.

Fast Facts

  • The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for four hours.
  • Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp, and can save many trees.

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE NEWSLETTER IN PDF FORMAT

References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon International
www.auduboninternational.org

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org

About.com
www.about.com

Pioneer Thinking
www.pioneerthinking.com

EarthCraft Homes
www.earthcrafthouse.com

The Natural Step
www.naturalstep.org

Animal Aid
www.animalaid.org.uk

Recipes For Sustainability
www.veganrecipes.org.uk

  

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Critter of the Season - The Black Capped Chickadee

blackcappedchick.jpg

A bird almost universally considered “cute” thanks to its oversized round head, tiny body, and curiosity about everything, including humans. The chickadee’s black cap and bib; white cheeks; gray back, wings, and tail; and whitish underside with buffy sides are distinctive. Its habit of investigating people and everything else in its home territory, and quickness to discover bird feeders, make it one of the first birds most people learn.

Size & Shape
This tiny bird has a short neck and large head, giving it a distinctive, rather spherical body shape. It also has a long, narrow tail and a short bill a bit thicker than a warbler’s but thinner than a finch’s.

Color Pattern
The cap and bib are black, the cheeks white, the back soft gray, the wing feathers gray edged with white, and the underparts soft buffy on the sides grading to white beneath. The cap extends down just beyond the black eyes, making the small eyes tricky to see.

Behavior
Black-capped Chickadees seldom remain at feeders except to grab a seed to eat elsewhere. They are acrobatic and associate in flocks—the sudden activity when a flock arrives is distinctive. They often fly across roads and open areas one at a time with a bouncy flight

Habitat
Chickadees may be found in any habitat that has trees or woody shrubs, from forests and woodlots to residential neighborhoods and parks, and sometimes weedy fields and cattail marshes. They frequently nest in birch or alder trees.  


PDF

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE NEWSLETTER IN PDF FORMAT
References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:
Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org 
  
The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 
  
The Cornell Lab
birds.cornell.edu

Small Business Trends
www.smallbiztrends.com              

Sanford Golf Design
www.sanfordgolfdesign.com

Scotland Yards Golf Club
http://www.scotlandyards.com

Technorati
www.technorati.com

Turf Feeding Systems
www.turffeeding.com

Love and Dodson
www.loveanddodson.com              

The Dodson Group
www.thedodsongrp.com      

To learn about sponsorship opportunities please call us at: 727-733-0762
This Issue of the SustainAbility Newsletter sponsored in part by:

The Dodson Group

$25 Annually $100 Annually $250 Reg / $100 Annually


SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

Read more