Winter is on its way. Now is the ideal time to begin thinking ahead about ways to safeguard your home and vehicle in preparation for the frostiest and most frigid days. Take a look at this helpful list of tips and get started on protecting your house and car ahead of time.
Tips For Your Home
- Conduct a home heating inspection: To make sure all of your home heating equipment is up to date and in working order, schedule a home heating inspection. Dirty filters can make your furnace work harder and lead to a higher heating bills; it's best to replace your filters every month when using it regularly. Inspecting and cleaning your furnace often makes sure your system is working correctly and protects against expensive fixes and poorly timed equipment malfunctions.
- Take a closer look at your windows and doors: Warm air can escape your house through cracks around your windows and doors. Caulking should be replaced intermittently so you take the time to check for holes that need to be patched. If you can see light coming in around the edges of your doors, plan to replace your weather stripping. It can cost a few dollars to replace but save hundreds on heating bills.
- Prepare your fireplace by having your chimney cleaned: If your chimney hasn't been cleaned in a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and other undesirable buildup. Check on the flue to ensure that it closes entirely and that you don't feel air coming in once it's closed. As an additional way to keep warm air in and cold air out, add glass doors around the opening of the fireplace..
- Cover your water heater: Buying a blanket for your water heater is a sound investment. Pick one up at a hardware store to keep your tank from quickly losing heat. On top of that, you can also lower your water heater temperature. Most manufacturers set the temperature to 140 degrees by default, but turning the temperature down just 10 degrees could save you around 3 to 5 percent on energy costs. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting the temperature to 120 degrees.
Tips For Your Vehicle
- Keep your tank half-full: Maintain at least half a tank of gas at all times. In the event of an emergency where you are stuck or stranded, this will ensure a source of heat until help arrives. Keeping the tank half-full will also help avoid gas line freeze-up.
- Warm up your car outside your garage: It sounds obvious enough, but always be sure to never warm your vehicle in an enclosed space (such as a garage). Carbon monoxide emitted from your car can be lethal within minutes.
- Thoroughly clear your car in case of snow: Make sure your vehicle is properly cleared of snow and ice before you hit the road. Clearing your windows, mirrors, lights, reflectors, hood, roof and trunk will ensure that your car is ready for travel and offers maximum visibility. Completely clearing your car also means snow and ice won't be able to drift off while driving and accidentally hit a vehicle behind you.
- Pack and store a winter safety kit: Protect yourself from the worst by building a safety kit ahead of time. Items such as blankets, flashlights, gloves, hats, water, food and any necessary medication could prove invaluable in difficult circumstances.