Winter weather can get pretty dangerous, lots of snow and ice can cause unsafe road conditions, slippery walkways, power outages and unbearably cold temperatures. If you aren’t prepared for it then you could get yourself into a pretty bad situation. Mostly if you have children you should make sure your home and car are winterized and prepared for these harsh few months.
How to Protect your Home
If you aren’t a fan of the winter and the cold temperatures then you’re going to want to make sure your house is fully prepared and winterized to withstand any dangerous storm. First of all, make sure there is no draft coming from any windows or doors. Remove your screen door and replace with a storm door to keep out any draft or harsh winds. Double check your pipes, if they freeze it means no water and a hefty bill to repair. Make sure your pipes are well insulated. Keep gutters clean, make sure snow or ice doesn’t build up in the gutters or they could fall and damage your house or hit you. Check the roof for any leaks, keep as much snow off of your roof as possible, if possible.
Next is the heating system in your house. Making sure you can keep your house warm all winter is the highest priority to keep your family from freezing. Get your furnace, air ducts, etc. checked and cleaned once a year. Purchase oil/kerosene/pellets/firewood early so you are prepared. It can be expensive to buy later in the season. Always have a backup plan whether it’s extra pellets or wood, or set-up a refill plan with your oil company to make sure you never run out. If you have a fireplace make sure it’s inspected and cleaned once a year. Double check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide testers. Buy a space heater for living rooms and bedrooms. Double check your generator is fueled and properly working. If you don’t have a generator then it’s a good time to buy one. Keep blankets/jackets/ hats and gloves near in case of a power outage. Having outdoor solar powered lights is also very beneficial. If the power does go out at night and you need to see outside the solar powered lights will stay on. Keep a shovel, sand and/or cat litter near the front door for easy access.
How to Prepare your Vehicle
Having a car that is reliable and drives through rain, sleet, snow and ice easily is a must-have during the winter. Winterizing your car can be a bit expensive but well worth it to get to work/store/school or a hospital without causing an accident. How do you get your car prepared for the winter? First of all, get a good set of snow tires, or if you don’t get a lot of snow then a nice set of all-season tires will do. Always keep at least a quarter tank of gas so your tank and fuel lines don’t freeze and crack. Keep winter windshield wiper fluid handy, windshields get very dirty in the winter. Have an extra set of wipers in case one breaks from ice build-up (happened to me once, it was Christmas day, all stores closed, scratched my up windshield). Double-check your anti-freeze and your radiator, having your car overheat can cause major damage that is very expensive to fix. Always, ALWAYS let your car warm up before driving. It helps melt snow and ice off your car and protects the engine.
Have an emergency kit in your car? If not then you should right away. If you’re car breaks down or goes off the road then an emergency kit would come in handy. So, what should you have in an emergency kit? Portable phone charger, flashlight, batteries, heavy blankets, extra socks, food like granola bars. Jumper cables, tire pump, spare tire, first-aid kit, sand or cat litter (to pour on ice to gain traction if stuck) and even a few pieces of plywood to wedge under your tires in-case you’re stuck in the snow. A small shovel is also handy to dig yourself out of snow. Whenever getting in your car always have a fully charged cell-phone, a bottle of water and money in case something happens. Having AAA is also a great tool if you’re in a situation, they are very helpful and can come help right away.
What to do When a Storm Hits?
Is the weather channel showing a big storm coming your way? Here’s what to do to prepare your home within a small window of time. Go to the grocery store and supply your home with food and water bottles/jugs, specifically food that doesn’t need to be cooked in case of power outage. Stock up on batteries for flashlights, and make sure you have blankets, sweaters, socks and hats at easy disposal. Charge your phone, and make sure all pets stay indoors. Keep watch on school closings, road closings and any severe weather alerts. Keep your walk-way clear and your driveway plowed. Pour sand or cat litter on your walk-way so no falls or injuries occur.
For a good 4-5 months of the year we have to deal with harsh winter-weather. Every year, now why not prepare now so that you are fully-prepared for future winters. Freezing cold temperatures are not something that you can take lightly and ignore. Not winterizing your home or your car can be dangerous and costly. Please take the time to prepare yourself and your family for whatever Mother Nature has to throw at us.