Winter Weather Survival Guide
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Posted June 1, 2017
Tackling the cold isn’t always as easy as throwing on a sweater or switching on the heater. With old man winter comes a whole host of things that could make one grumpy. Power failures, icy roads, car problems, and an increased chance of sickness and health problems are just some of the winter hazards people are currently combating.
With our Winter Weather Survival Guide, you can identify the areas where you might need a little more protection. Although we’re all waiting for spring, winter has just hit its stride. Taking preventative action now is the best defense.
When your family is warm, winter is bliss. Consider fire safety, furnace maintenance, and the forecasts as you keep your home winter-ready. Click here for home winterization tips.
1. Chimney Safety
If you have a fireplace in your home, you’ll most likely be using it the most during these chilly months. Your chimney or flue needs to be inspected annually. For more information on fire safety, read our heating safety blog.
Adding weatherstripping and insulation to your doors and windows and attic is the best way to keep the cold where it belongs—outside. For more details on how to insulate your attic door/hatch, read our blog here.
3. Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector
Be sure your home has a properly installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly and change their batteries twice a year. Follow manufacturer instructions for when to replace them. For smoke alarm safety tips, read our blog here.
Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is important for efficiency and indoor air quality. Change your air filters every 1-3 months and call Hiller for a winter check-up. We recommend signing for a Home Maintenance Plan so you never forget this important annual home maintenance task.
5. Listen to Forecasts
Listen to weather forecasts and prepare accordingly. If heavy rain or snow is in the forecast and you’ve pinpointed a leak in the home or poor insulation, this may be just the task to tackle.
Extreme cold will cause the water pipes in your home to freeze, or worse, even rupture! Here are the things you can do when you know cold temperatures are on their way:
Set your thermostat no lower than 55°. Even when you go on vacation or leave the home, leave your thermostat at 55° or above. Visit our thermostat installation and repair page for more information.
Open the cabinets in your kitchen and the bathroom. This allows for warm air to circulate around your pipes.
3. Warm Water
Let your faucets trickle with warm water (run both hot and cold lines), especially if temperatures remain freezing.
Insulate pipes and/or faucets. For example, insulate with plumbing insulation foam.
Indoor Winter Safety
- Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.
- Do not burn paper in a fireplace.
- Ensure adequate ventilation if you must use a kerosene heater.
- Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use—don’t substitute.
- Do not place space heaters within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture, or bedding. Never cover your space heater!
- Never place space heaters on top of furniture or near water.
- Never leave children unattended near a heater.
- Make sure that no cords present a tripping hazard. Do not run the cord under carpets or rugs where they can be stepped on.
- Avoid using extension cords to plug in your space heater. Extension cords are for temporary use only. Never use an extension cord as a permanent solution!
- If your space heater has a damaged electrical cord or produces sparks, do not use it. Make sure the space heater has a seal from an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
- Store a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher near the area to be heated.
- Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated detector.
- Click here for more electrical safety tips.
- Clean up your electrical hazards.
1. Regular Maintenance
People tend to push off regular vehicle maintenance until something goes wrong. That is not a risk you want to take during the unpredictable winter.
2. Check your Anti-Freeze
If you haven’t done so already, your radiator system should be serviced, check the anti-freeze level, and add antifreeze as necessary.
Three things here. First, your windshield wipers should be working efficiently and effectively. This is your greatest defense against loss of vision in the case of a storm. Second, your windshield wiper fluid needs to be replaced with a wintertime mixture. Third, you need a windshield scraper/brush stored in your vehicle to clear off any ice or snow accumulation.
Gas — If you’re headed out in difficult weather, always be aware of how full your gas tank is.