Simple ways to winterize your home and vehicle

Freezing temperatures and snow and ice present unique maintenance challenges for your home and car.

Here are a few simple ways to winterize your home and vehicle so you can safely and economically enjoy the season.

Winterize your home

  • Change or clean furnace filters: Dirty furnace filters are unhealthy and cause the HVAC system to work harder than necessary. Save on energy costs, keep your home healthy and reduce the wear on your system by changing or cleaning your filters at least once a month during the months you use heat.
  • Run ceiling fans in reverse: Using clockwise rotation allows the fan to pull warm air down from the ceiling and disperse it throughout the room. If you run them on a low setting, you can better regulate the temperature in your home and lower your heating costs.
  • Drain air conditioning lines: Drain water out of the lines and shut the water valve off. This prevents the water inside from freezing and damaging the lines. Do the same to your garden hoses.
  • Guard against door drafts: The simplest and cheapest way to insulate a drafty door is a rolled-up towel. For public areas of the house, more fashionable options at a reasonable price.
  • Insulate windows: Window insulation kits are very cheap and easy to install. They guard against the cold, keep your energy costs down and are easy to remove when the season is over.

Winterize your vehicle

  • Change the wiper blades: Your wiper blades will be working overtime in the winter to remove snow, ice and debris from your windshield. Replace worn out blades before you find yourself squinting through a dirty windshield in a storm.
  • Top-off wiper fluid: During the winter, water is not good enough. Proper wiper fluid will help to keep your view clean and your driving safe.
  • Check tire treads: Worn out tire treads are especially dangerous in winter weather. Use the penny test: put a penny into the downwards facing treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
  • Get the right tools: Did you clean out your car for the summer? Check to make sure you have an ice scraper, booster cables, gloves and even a folding shovel in your car to get through the season.
  • Clean and treat your doors: There is nothing worse than being stuck outside in the cold trying to force open the door of your car. While doors do occasionally freeze over, in many cases the sticking is due to dirty, untreated doors jamming in the cold.