Time to Get Ready for Winter

In most parts of the country, winter does not wait for December to arrive. Now is the time to get ready for the cold, snow and ice. You can start by winterizing your house. First check your storm windows and exterior doors for cracks, openings, etc. Seal any cracks and openings and caulk windows where needed.  Place weather-stripping around doors to keep the cold air out. Add extra insulation where needed. If you have an attic, adding insulation will not only lower your energy bill, it will help protect your roof from ice dams. There is currently a tax credit available on many of these energy saving items.

Have your furnace cleaned and change the furnace filters. It is recommended that you change your furnace filters monthly during the winter. Also make sure there no flammable materials near your furnace.  Installing a programmable thermostat will lower your heating costs. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, have it and the chimney inspected to make sure they are safe.

Also, clean your gutters and downspouts, and inspect your roof for any missing or worn shingles. Insulate any exposed pipes to prevent water in them from freezing and drain the garden hose. Service or tune-up your snow blower, make sure you have a good snow shovel, and a good supply of driveway salt. You should stock up on candles, flash lights, extra food, water, etc. in case the power goes out or you get snowed in for a day or two.

Next, winterize your car. Check the tires for wear or put snow tires on your car. Also check the tire pressure. Then, check the battery, belts, hoses, lights, heater, defroster, brakes, antifreeze, etc.  You should change the oil, replace the wiper blades and fill the washer fluid reservoir. You should also make sure you have a blanket, a first aid kit, tool kit, flares, cat litter, jumper cables, a snow brush, an ice scraper, a shovel, water and some food in your car. If you are not confident that your car will not get through the winter, now is a good time to consider replacing it with a more reliable one.

If you do decide to replace your car, there are many ways you can dispose of your present car.  If you donate car to charity, you will get a tax deduction of at least $500 and your car donation will help a very worthy cause.