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home : current news : current news December 15, 2017

11/14/2017 12:04:00 PM
Getting prepared for winter
Mitch Mansfield, of Sisters Olive & Nut Co., shovels snow in front of his store during the first real snowfall of the season on Thursday, November 9. photo by Karen Kassy
+ click to enlarge
Mitch Mansfield, of Sisters Olive & Nut Co., shovels snow in front of his store during the first real snowfall of the season on Thursday, November 9.

photo by Karen Kassy

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Folks in Sisters Country are coming to grips with a stark reality: Winter is coming.

In fact, regardless of the calendar, we've already seen snowfall and temperatures dropping into the teens overnight. The great fear, of course, is that we will see a repeat of the heavy winter Sisters endured last year.

The best way to relieve anxiety in anticipation of winter is to get prepared.

Sisters residents learned - or re-learned - some hard lessons last winter. The most important one is that we have to clear the snow off our roofs and keep it cleared. The greatest damage last winter occurred due to the accumulation of snow on roofs, which led to ice damming, which led to sometimes catastrophic leakage.

"Get that snow off your roof - really," says Paul Ryan of Bison Construction in Sisters.

That means getting a rake out, or getting up on your roof to shovel with the first heavy snowfall. Don't rely on chemicals.

"Those magnesium discs you throw on the roof are pretty useless," Ryan says. "The only thing you can really do is physically remove the snow from your roof, either with a shovel or with one of those rakes which work really well."

Bruce Merrell of Laredo Construction advises that "if you're going to rake the roof, you've got to go all the way up to the ridge." Just raking up a few feet won't do Merrell says - it just sets up ice damming in different spots.

Pay special attention to valleys where low-pitched sections of roof come together.

Ryan emphasizes that anyone you hire to do snow removal should be insured and carry workers' compensation insurance. Last winter, many people had people working on their roofs who were not professionals and had no coverage - which is a very risky scenario.

Many Sisters folks leave for the winter. Ryan recommends turning the heat off so that it doesn't heat the roof, melting snow and encouraging ice dams.

"People who leave for the winter and leave the heat on are a problem," Ryan says.

Merrell recommends leaving the temperature at 55 degrees to avoid freezing pipes, especially for people who are leaving and returning through the winter.

"You've got to be concerned about your water lines. It's best if you can drain down the system," he says.

Merrell also emphasizes that it's critical to plug all of your air vents with foam to prevent frigid air from circulating into the house and freezing water in pipes.

Keep your decks and walkways clear, too. Jump on them early and stay on top of them to avoid - or at least mitigate - the difficulties of clearing mass accumulation.

It's a very good idea to tap a local contractor to do a pre-winter inspection of your home, to help you identify potential problem areas and recommend fixes. They can help you get ahead of Old Man Winter before he really sinks his claws into Sisters Country.

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