With colder temperatures in store for the Bluegrass, it’s time to get your home and car ready for winter. Here are some tips to make sure that you make it through the winter safe and sound.
- Bring garden hoses inside. Drain them completely so they don’t crack and break when it gets below freezing. If you can, turn the water supply off to outdoor water spigots and drain them. If not, get insulated covers or wrap outdoor spigots with insulation and tape.
- Check windows to make sure they’re closed and locked. If you can see daylight between a window and the window frame, pack the opening with weather stripping or other insulation. Check exterior doors to make sure they seal completely. This includes your garage door.
- Protect indoor pipes that run through unheated areas of your home with insulation or heating tape. These are located in garages, crawl spaces, attics and areas near an exterior wall, like a kitchen or bathroom sink.
- Get your heating system checked by a professional. You can change the furnace filter as clean filters circulate the air more efficiently. Consider getting a programmable thermostat, so your home will be cooler at night and when you’re away and warmer when you’re there during the day.
- Clean gutters and downspouts so water flows easily away from the house and the foundation. If necessary, extend downspouts at least three feet away from the foundation area.
- If there are trees in your yard, check for broken and dead limbs. Trim trees so that they don’t extend over your roof.
- Seal places where warm air can leak out of your home, such as vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches, and light fixtures.
- Clean and store lawn equipment and outdoor furniture. For gasoline-powered equipment, use a fuel stabilizer and run the engine for several minutes. Or run the engine until there’s no fuel left in it. Clean tools and give them a light coat of oil so they don’t rust.
- Get your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Many house fires start when flames from the fireplace ignite materials in a dirty chimney. Clean the firebox as well and make sure the flue and other fireplace parts are in good working order.
- Stock up on cold-weather essentials. You should have at least one A-B-C rated fire extinguisher in your home. Keep a supply of sand, ice melt, and a shovel handy to keep sidewalks and driveways clear.
- If you have a generator, now is the time to make sure it starts and you have the right kind of fuel for it. Remember the safety instructions for all generators.
- Check your home emergency kit. Make sure you have fresh batteries for flashlights, radios and other equipment. Check that you have at least one cell phone charger in case the power goes out. Review what’s in your first aid kit and if you have included a supply of maintenance medicines, rotate older meds with newer ones.
- Check your vehicle emergency kit. With winter’s arrival, make sure you have the necessary items in case you get stranded when the weather gets cold.