Are you ready for winter?
Old Man Winter has arrived! Were you ready or were you caught off-guard? Getting a head start can save time, money and frustration.
For instance, if you own vehicles, put on those snow tires now. Otherwise, check your all-season tires to make sure you have good tread and proper air pressure. If you use chains, put them in your trunk so they’re accessible when you need them. Check your wiper blades to make sure they are in good working order. Keep an eye on your windshield wiper fluid; keep a gallon in your trunk for emergency purposes. Clean your battery terminals. Make sure your battery is still holding a good charge. Check your radiator’s antifreeze levels. Give your car time to warm up and totally clear off and defog your windows before heading out on the roadways.
Assemble an emergency kit for each vehicle: jumper cables, flashlights, extra batteries, ice scraper/brush, flares or safety triangles, first aid kit, sand or kitty litter and small shovel. Keep the following in the interior of your vehicle: blankets; extra hats; glove;, socks; boots; plastic bags to slip over your shoes (if you don’t have boots); non-perishable food such as granola bars, flip tab canned fruit; bottled water; candles with matches; and a cell phone charger.
Keep a list of family, friends and tow service phone numbers in your briefcase or glove box. If you don’t belong to a triple A service, consider purchasing membership in the event your vehicle breaks down and you need a tow. Those memberships also make nice holiday gifts!
On the home front: make sure storm windows are closed tight; remove screens if able. Invest in low-cost plastic window insulation kits if you don’t have storms or energy efficient windows. Install weather stripping and caulk, if needed. Switch out lighter curtains for insulated ones – especially on north-facing windows. Install foam insulation pads behind exterior wall outlet and switch plates.
Stock up on battery operated candles or lanterns, battery operated/crank radio and flashlight as well as extra batteries. Have several gallons of water on hand to use for brushing teeth and sponge bathing, along with several more to flush toilets. Non-perishable food can include canned meats, beans, nuts, peanut butter, jams, crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, and bottled water/juices. Don’t forget a manual can opener. Have two weeks’ worth of extra medications on hand. If you have a wood stove or fire-place, have your cast iron cooking pots and pans at the ready when heating with wood. They can be worth their weight in gold when you lose power.
Be sure your gutters and downspouts are cleaned out from the fall leaves so that melting snow and ice has a place to drain. Change furnace filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions and keep an extra one on hand. If you have a generator, make sure it is in working order and has fuel and oil. Likewise, if you use a snow blower, make sure it’s all set for that first big snowfall.
Don’t forget to protect your plumbing. Make sure all pipes in your attic, basement and crawl spaces are insulated. Disconnect and drain garden hoses. Insulate or shut off any outdoor water faucets. Bring in plastic patio furniture that can be become brittle in frigid temperatures.
Be safe this winter!
Last updated January 18, 2018