TIP: Winter’s around the corner… check those connections

Labor Day Weekend is almost here and that means that winter weather is only about a month and a half away in much of the country. This is a great time to take a look at your outdoor connections while it’s still warm enough to replace them without wearing gloves.

Take a look at your outdoor cables. The cables themselves should look good, but intense sunlight can cause cable sheaths (the plastic outside part) to crack. UV radiation eats at plastic, and uneven expansion can cause cracks along the length of the cable. Cracked cables can work fine in the summer but winter weather can take them out of commission.

Check the tightness and condition of all connectors. If you see any pitting on the outside, there’s probably corrosion on the inside. Also, connectors should be tight and should not wiggle or wobble when twisted gently with the fingers. If any exposed connections look dull grey, they could be corroded.

If you have a dish heater, try it out on the ground and make sure it still works. If you use a long broom to get snow off the dish reflector, find it now instead of when you need it.

Now is also a great time to prune back branches that have gotten long enough to drop leaves in front of the dish. DIRECTV has started using “stubby mounts” (they call them the “low pro easy mount”) which put the dish closer to the surface of the roof where leaves can aggregate.

If you have your equipment on a UPS, check the battery by unplugging them and making sure they still power your electronics.

If you use an over-the-air antenna, it’s easy to forget that it’s a sensitive piece of electronic equipment. Head up to the roof and make sure those tines are straight and that summer rains haven’t knocked it off plumb or out of alignment.