Whether you reside in the Midwest or Northeast, you must know the winter drill. In these regions, you’ll experience below freezing temperatures on a daily basis during the winter. These areas have around three to four months of snowfall, unexpected storms, and below freezing temperatures. Beyond discomfort and inconvenience, the snowstorms and blizzards may cause some irreparable damage.
This is where timely winter preparedness comes into play. Protecting your home and car is important during the winter months. Remember that a frozen pipe can cause water damage in your home. Likewise, your vehicle needs the same attention as your home to face the worst of the winter.
Even if you don’t live in the Midwest or Northeast, you can still experience days below freezing and perhaps snowfall. Therefore, the necessary precautions should be taken to avoid any damages to your home or vehicle.
Here we break down a few practical tips to help you prepare your home and cars for the winter.
Tips to Prepare Your Vehicle and Home for the Winter
Protect Your Water Pipes
When water freezes in your pipes it expands by 9 percent and can cause the pipe to burst. This is not only dangerous but also requires extensive repairs.
You can prevent this by:
- Draining supply lines to pools and outdoor sprinklers
- Closing off the valves supplying water outside, then turning on your house bibs for excess water to empty
- Covering exposed pipes with sturdy insulation sleeves
If you see below freezing temperatures in the forecast, you need to take this precaution as soon as possible. There isn’t a specific month that this should be done since some regions of the country get colder sooner than others.
Check Your Snow Blower
You don’t want to wait until the day you get several feet of snow to make sure your snow blower works. Ideally, you should fire it up in the spring or summer to make sure it’s working properly since there’s usually a long wait to get your blower serviced in winter. Also, make sure you’re stocked up on oil and gas.
If worse comes to worst, make sure you have a snow shovel as a backup or pay someone to come plow your driveway.
Prepare Your Vehicles for the Winter
Driving in cold weather or on icy roads is challenging as well as dangerous. While the road conditions are out of your control, you can at least get your car ready for the winter.
Call your mechanic to take care of routine maintenance and ask if there’s any precautions you should take. If you have winter tires on hand, it can make driving on snowy, slippery roads easier. Install high-quality windshield wipers, and make sure your car’s washer fluid receptacle is in good condition and full.
It’s a good rule of thumb to not let your car sit for more than a week without driving it, so take turns driving each of your vehicles.
Also, make sure you leave enough gas in your car and don’t let it sit on low fuel. If your tank is nearly full, there’s some space left for fuel expansion. This prevents water droplets from mixing with the fuel. If the two mix then phase separation occurs where water and ethanol separate from the fuel and settle on the bottom of the tank. This can damage your engine or cause it to stall.
Have an Emergency Kit in Your Vehicle
Having a first aid kit in the car is a good habit. It’s beneficial in the winter and keeps you prepared for any emergencies.
However, expand the kit to include some more essentials items for the snow and cold.
Make sure your kit has a:
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
You may also want to carry a water bottle, sleeping bag, and granola bars in case you break down or get caught in a snowstorm.
The tips mentioned above are quick and easy to follow and can keep your home and car safe from winter weather.