Even though the groundhog predicted an early spring, we know here in Anne Arundel County, that February brings snow and freezing temperatures. That being said, some years are harsher than others, meaning homeowners should always prepare for the worst! When things get bad outdoors, ensuring you have the tools and necessary equipment to keep your family and home as safe as possible is essential.
Check out some guidelines for staying better protected in the weeks ahead. A few minor steps could make all the difference!
Prepping Your Home
First things first, make certain your home is well insulated, so no cold drafts can work their way in. This also goes for your pipes. Plumbing that is exposed to cold temperatures (like the ones in your garage, basement, crawlspace, or attic) is more prone to freeze, which could then lead to burst pipes and a lot of water damage throughout your home. Insulating these pipes, as well as having any outdoor ones relocated, will guarantee you stay better protected.
You’ll also want to ensure your gutters are totally cleaned out, so that any ice, sleet, and snow can effectively melt off of your roof and away from your home. While you’re at it, have your appliances (heater, boiler, fireplace, etc.) professionally inspected and serviced by an expert in the field, so that you’re not without heat on those especially cold days. And be sure that your home is set up with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, too!
All of these steps can save you money on heating costs, and they help you avoid expensive repair jobs down the line, too. Above all else, though, these things ensure your family members stay as safe as possible, no matter what. Take some time to get your home properly prepped – it’s well worth it!
Winterizing Your Car
Now, when the weather is especially bad, avoiding any driving is always your best bet. That being said, sometimes it must be done, in which case you should ensure your vehicle is equipped to handle it all. Winterize your car by investing in good snow tires, topping off your wiper fluid, ensuring your battery is equipped to handle the drop in temperature, and inspecting your tire pressure. It’s also recommended that you switch to winter wipers, change your oil, and check your antifreeze.
Do you have an emergency kit in your car? If not, invest in one now! It should include things like non-perishable food items, water bottles, a flashlight, some matches, jumper cables, and first-aid supplies. You’ll also want to stash some extra warm clothing, some blankets, sand and shovels, extra antifreeze, and even some flares. If you get stuck when things are really bad out there, all of these will help increase your chances of survival significantly.
Stock Up On Home Supplies
If you are able to stay home, then great! Just be sure to stock up on some essentials now, so that you are prepared for any bad weather down the line. Always have plenty of bottled water on hand, as well as a bunch of pantry items that won’t go bad anytime soon (noodles, sauce, soups, snack foods, cereals, energy bars, etc.). There are a lot of grocery items that can last for weeks on end if needed!
You’ll also want to keep plenty of first aid supplies stocked, as well as blankets (in case you lose heat), flashlights, batteries, a battery-operated radio, candles, a can opener, a space heater, and anything else you can possibly think of that might be needed down the line.
Have kids or pets? Make sure you have plenty of diapers, baby food, pet food, formula, and any necessary medications. And finally, don’t forget the games! You’ll want to have puzzles, cards, board games, coloring books, and the like all ready to go because you are sure to need some fun activities to pass the time – and it’s a great excuse for extra family time! By stocking up now, you save yourself a lot of hassle and stress if a sudden storm hits, and you will greatly minimize the risk of harm coming to your family.
Prep Your Fireplace
Now, one effective way to save money on heating costs when winds are blowing hard outside is to cozy everyone up by the fireplace! That being said, ensuring your system is properly inspected, swept, and repaired beforehand is a must. Clogs, improper dimensions, and a jammed damper are just a few of the many things that could send smoke and harmful fumes into your home, and this is the last thing you need when your stuck inside for days on end.
We recommend having things looked over now to ensure you are all set and ready to go. It’s also wise to prime your flue before starting any fires, as it will be especially cold in these scenarios, and this chilly air will push harmful fumes back into your home. You can do this by simply lighting some rolled-up newspaper and holding inside of your flue for a couple of minutes.
It’s also important to use on well-seasoned wood in your fireplace, as this ensures your fires are hot enough to send smoke up and out of your home effectively, and if all else fails, crack a window to reduce the pressure in your home and ensure airflow is moving correctly and evenly.
Need help? We’re here for you. Reach out to our CSIA Certified Technicians today!