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Winter Weather Preps for Your 2 Most Important Areas of Influence

I know that fall has just arrived and it felt like summer was yesterday, but last week I awoke to frost on my car windshield and began to think about the coming winter. Seeing that it’s never too early to get ready for what you know is coming, here’s my list of things for you to remember to do (in no particular order) with respect to the two most important areas you can influence: your home and car…

Your Home

  • Get your HVAC system serviced before first use
  • Have fireplace chimney flue inspected/cleaned before first use
  • Check function of smoke alarms, CO detectors, fire extinguishers, etc (replace batteries too)
  • Stock up on plenty of firewood, propane, heating oil, etc for emergency heating use
  • Ensure any door/window air leaks are sealed up by replacing worn insulation, caulking, thresholds, etc
  • Insluate any water lines along exterior walls (especially if they have frozen in the past)
  • Put up garden hoses, drain sprinkler system, pool (I wish!), etc
  • Check/service snow removal equipment, ensure you have plenty of gas and oil to run it, and have snow shovels as backups too
  • Ensure you have enough ice melt (put it on the shopping list and keep an eye out) for walkways
  • Ready your garden for winter (harvest anything that needs it, till soil, replace nutrients for next planting season)
  • Check function of generators as well as any emergency heaters and lanterns
  • Consider passive ways to heat your house (ideas from Movable Insulation book may be useful)

Your Vehicles

  • Do basic maintenance: check fluids (antifreeze, w/shield washer), wiper blades, brakes, belts for fraying, battery charge, tire tread, spare tire pressure, lights work
  • Be sure you have the basics of jumper cables, extra fluid (e.g., engine oil, washer fluid), road flares, compressed air/tire pump, basic tools, etc
  • Include ice scraper, snow brush, de-icer, snow chains, folding shovel, bag of sand for traction, as necessary
  • Keep more gasoline in the tank than usual (aim for 1/2 full or more) because of the possibility for being stranded in bad weather
  • Include additional warmth preps, such as blankets, sleeping bag, heavy jacket, stocking caps, socks, gloves/mittens, sturdy shoes, etc
  • Check/replace normal vehicle kit contents (matches, lighters, flashlights, batteries, candles, food, water)

Remember, these are suggestions you can and should implement BEFORE an emergency situation forces your hand.

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