By Krawdaddy Jones

Posted: October 28, 2022

As the autumn is upon us, and winter treads behind it with inevitable footsteps, it’s important to know when the first freeze comes in. This is important because in order to keep plants, animals, and yourself alive, you should know when the real cold will start to kick in. For info on everything from weather to hunting and fishing, listen to the Montana Outdoor Radio Show!

Once you know this, it’s good to know what to do about it. This year, it’s already happened. Typically the first freezes are happening in Montana between September 1st and 30th, according to My Garden Life’s Frost Map. 

Before the first freeze happens, it’s critical to do a few things that will ensure the operation of your household. Otherwise, you could have major issues with your sprinkler systems, hoses and pump systems, indoor and outdoor plumbing, furnace filters and more! 



Your sprinkler system, if you have one, runs under your entire yard. It’s totally vital that you winterize it, so you don’t end up with a massive sink hole in the middle of your yard. You could veen deal with internal water system issues, if you don’t winterize it well. How do you winterize it, then? Well, it can be complicated and easy. Depending on the system, simply shutting it off and draining the valves at the end of each zone should suffice. However, if you’re unsure, call your sprinkler provider or installer and make sure you know what you’ve got to do to shut it down and drain it out. This will save you from causing any damage to an expensive system, and protect your home from water and plumbing issues. 



To maximize your heating system, switching out a furnace filter may just do the trick. It can purify your home’s air, and will help prepare your home for a cold first frost. The process is actually very straightforward, and should take about 5-10 minutes! Piece of cake! According to Clean Alert, all you need to do is turn off your furnace, locate the furnace filter, determine the size of the replacement, remove the old to insert the new, and turn your furnace back on! Calling your installer or a maintenance consult is a great option if you can’t find the right size, where it is, etc. 



Do a sweep of the exterior of your home, and of all the windows and doors to make sure they’re insulated properly. Proper insulation means no holes in the walls, no cracks or gaps in the edges of the windows and doors, and no air coming in or out of gaps in the foundation, drywall, etc. It may be harder with older homes to ensure proper insulation, but it’s still an important effort to make in order to save money on power throughout the winter, and make sure cold air isn’t leaking in.



Same goes for your garage! It’s important to check the insulation of this space because you don’t want any damage done to your tools, projects, and especially car in those freezing nights that roll through the winter. Check for holes in walls, air leakage through windows and doors, and any other signs that cold air is getting in and hot air is getting out. 



Cleaning your gutters is very important before it freezes over! Gutters that are clogged with water and leaves will turn into mud, and can damage the system or even your home. Unclogging them should be a priority, especially if you live near a bunch of falling leaves. This is actually a process that should be done several times a year, but is most valuable before monsoon seasons and before everything freezes over.

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