The temps are dropping. The mountains in my neck of the woods have a snow forecast this weekend and it is not even Halloween yet!
Colder temps mean it is time to start preparing your home for winter. I know, I know. Winter is at least another month or so away, but do it know and you can spend your fall drinking hot chocolate and running through corn mazes instead of doing these chores.
Not sold yet? Did you know that winterizing your car and home can save you up to 20% on your heating bills? Learn how below.
Winterize Your Car
- Make sure you can see. Wiper blades should be tested and replaced before any big storm. Streaking and gaps can decrease your visibility and increase your chances of getting in an accident. Wiper blades are easily replaced, but if you are feeling a little shy, ask an attendant at an auto body shop to give you some pointers. Frozen ice is another vision detractor. Invest in a specialized windshield de-icer to help chip off the ice on those frigid days.
- Change your tires. Thread bare and badly worn tires stand no chance in a storm. Honestly, thread bare tires do not stand a chance in normal weather. If you need new tires, do not wait. And if you live in a snowy climate, consider getting snow tires to help you safely navigate the slick roads this winter.
- Get the right oil. Did you know that oil expands and thickens when it gets colder? Thicker oil is not as efficient and may not lube the engine correctly. When you get your oil changed, ask the attendant about what oil is best for your climate. To be safe, check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
- Prepare an emergency kit. Fill it with blankets, a change of clothes, water and non-perishable food. This kit should also include a tire pump and jack, flashlight and reflectors.
Winterize Your Home
- Find leaks. Leaks in your home will suck the heat out and jack up your heating bill. Start your leak search at doors leading outside and your windows. When closed, a door and window should seal at all edges. If you find any holes, fill them with sealant purchased at any home improvement store. Thermal leaks (drafty areas in your home) are another way to throw your money away. Using a thermal leak detector (also found at most home improvement stores) to seal up leaks can save you up to 20% on your home heating bill.
- Insulate. Insulation is the coat padding of your home. It keeps the warm air in while keeping the cold air at bay outside. Insulation needs depend greatly on the climate of where you live. For example, a home in Alabama needs more insulation than one in Utah. Check out energystar.gov for insulation recommendations in your area.
- Prepare an emergency kit. If a bad storm hits and you can’t make it to the store, make sure you have a heat source, light, easy to prepare food and plenty of water.