The hazards of winter weather vary from region to region but, when cold weather strikes, it’s important to be prepared no matter where you live. Winter storms and freezing temperatures can be dangerous for many reasons but, with planning and preparation, you can better protect your home and family from potential dangers. As temperatures cool, take these steps to keep your home safe and warm for the winter months:
Winterize Your Home
Winterizing varies from region to region but, for many, proper winter preparation includes repairing roof leaks and cleaning out gutters. In severe climates, it’s also important to install weather stripping, additional insulation, and storm windows, and to insulate water lines than run along the exterior walls of your home. Whether you heat your home with gas, electric, wood-burning stoves, or some combination of the three, have your heating system services professionally to ensure that it is cleaned, works, and is ventilated properly. With fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, have your chimney swept before lighting the first winter fire. Particularly in homes with fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, ensure that you have an adequate carbon monoxide detector in place. Halo and Halo+ alarms offer both smoke and CO detection, but not all smoke alarms do, so it’s important to install a CO detector to alert you of unsafe levels of this harmful gas.
Around the Home
Particularly if you live at the end of a long driveway, keep a supply of rock salt—or other environmentally safe product—to melt ice on your drive and walkways. Bring pets and companion animals inside or, for larger animals, make sure to provide warm shelter and unfrozen water for them to drink. If you have family or neighbors who are older and/or chronically ill, they may be at higher risk for cold weather hazards. If possible, check on them periodically during winter month to see if they have everything they need (working heat, food and home supplies, etc).
Vehicles tend to need winter tune-ups, so it’s important to have your mechanic check your antifreeze levels, brakes, heater & defroster, and more. If you live in an area that necessitates snow tires or chains, make sure you have those installed as well.
For a complete checklist, click here. While we can’t stop the onset of winter, we can stay prepared for it when it comes. Bundle up and stay safe!