Winter is Coming: Prepare Your Essential Tools to Survive
Winter often creeps up on us and finds us working in our garage one weekend, and huddling indoors the next. There is nothing wrong with getting in your last bit of work done before winter truly sets in. We often forget to plan for essential tool storage when we are working right until our last bit of sunshine and warmth is gone for the season.
Making sure you clean and store your tools is essential. You have to prepare an environment in which they can be used properly to keep them working in good shape for years to come. Taking an afternoon to do this will help pay off in the long run.
Chances are your tools are stored where they are easily accessible. You’d want a large-enough space where you can easily obtain, use and store your items. Many people prefer working outdoors, in a garage or shop. As the temperature drops, this can become quite uncomfortable. Not only is it uncomfortable for you, but it also can be tough on your tools, leaving you one of two options: to either store your tools until warmer days, or provide some sort of heating.
If bringing your tools indoors for winter storage is not an option, then you will need to provide some sort of protection, and general maintenance before walking away. This is especially true for areas that get a deep, lingering freeze. If you want to have access to your tools through the winter, then you need to plan on the options that both allow you to work comfortably, and efficiently to avoid damage to your investment.
If you regularly work within your garage or shed through the winter, then you need to do more than just bundle up. In fact, layering clothes and wearing gloves can be a hindrance to certain movements- and may cause safety issues depending on the type of tool you are working with.
Because of this, you want to address the actual climate within your workspace itself; using a heater of some type can be very beneficial to warming a space quickly and efficiently. This does more than making a comfortable atmosphere for you. It also allows your tools to warm and work as they are meant to without any adverse reactions to the cold. For some excellent reviews of garage heater choices, click here.
Tools and the Cold
Regular maintenance of your tools is a practice you should regularly attend to. This helps keep everything running as it should, and makes storage, lack of use, and use in a cold environment less stressful on the moving parts. But when it gets towards the freezing mark, simple maintenance may not be enough.
A couple of things can happen when working at or below freezing. Sometimes these are noticeable, and sometimes not, but all should be considered. The following observations are often related to one another, as one situation may cause the other to occur.
- Lubricants may thicken, become too viscous or waxy which may affect tools performance
- Popped circuits due to tool working harder
- Blade tension that needs adjustment
- Sweating and vapor condensation creating rust within tools, and on them
- Burning out a motor
- Brittle plastics and metal, resulting in breakage
Bringing the ambient temperature of your workspace up prior to working can be very helpful in keeping your tools running smoothly and properly. Always pay attention to any condensation and use proper rust prevention methods.
Storing Essential Tools
If you do not use your tools often through the winter months and find that storing them is a better option, then you need to prepare your tools for proper winter storage. This is not a difficult task but should be completed to keep your tool dry and ready to use once you need it again.
- Keep tools clean from dirt and dust that can collect moisture
- Properly oil your metal to provide a moisture barrier
- Make sure your tool is well greased
- Wrap or secure cord in some manner without bending tightly
- Store in a container or bag to keep dirt and dust from getting to the parts
And remember, if you do decide to use your tools, do so after allowing it to warm up to the temperature of the room and be sure to clean it thoroughly after use.
When the cold weather blows in, you want to make sure your tools properly stored or maintained. Simple maintenance and storage solutions do not take long at all to complete. This will also allow you peace of mind when you retrieve your tools once the weather warms up. If using your tools is common through the winter, then simply consider bringing your tool up to ambient temperature prior to use, and work in a warmed environment if possible.