Winterize Your Home and Auto
How quickly we went from the hot summer to the cold temperatures of late fall and early winter. The seasons may come and go, but one thing you can do any time of year is find ways to save yourself some money on utility bills. It’s good for your wallet and good for conserving resources, which benefits everyone.
Here are some tips for winterizing your home and auto:
Winterizing Your Home
- Install weatherstripping around your doors and windows. If you already have weatherstripping, check its condition. If there are significant cracks or wear and tear, it could be time to replace it. Use weatherstripping on doors and windows, sweeps on door cracks, and foam or caulk on cracks, pipe and wire entry ports and other openings to the outside of your home.
- Have your heat pump or furnace professionally cleaned and serviced. It’s better to maintain a heating system in good working order than it is to shiver while you pay for emergency repairs.
- Do you plan on using a chimney with a fireplace or wood-burning heater? Make sure to have your chimney and/or flue inspected and cleaned.
- Insulate pipes. Wrap-around foam insulation is affordable and relatively easy to install. Hot water lines and pipes that run under your crawl space can lose less heat energy as the water travels through the pipe. Insulation can help you to use less hot water or run your water heater at a lower temperature. Insulation can also help prevent pipes from freezing and cracking.
- Insulate outdoor spigots and faucets. Use strap-on foam covers during winter to help keep the water outlets from freezing.
- Reverse ceiling fans. During winter, the fan should push upward, moving and recirculating air that collects at the ceiling back down around the room.
- Prepare for a long-term stay at home or sheltering in place by gathering emergency supplies, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, water, medical supplies and medication.
Winterizing Your Auto
- Service the radiator and maintain the antifreeze level of your vehicle.
- Check the tread on your tires or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires. Make sure to maintain correct air pressure when temperatures drop. Don’t forget to check the spare!
- Keep the gas tank full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer. Keep a good ice scraper in your car. Consider keeping a spray can of de-icer as well for quicker, easier frost and ice removal. The less hurry you’re in the safer you’ll drive.
- Keep a flashlight, a blanket and a cell phone charging cable in your car. These can help keep you safer and more comfortable if you have a breakdown and can allow you to call for help.
- Check with your auto insurer to see if you have roadside assistance free or as an add-on for a low fee. Consider adding it. It can help get you out of a jam.
Winter is coming. While we can’t change that, we can prepare for it, help save money and be a little bit safer too. If you’re looking to buy supplies or services to winterize your home, but spent all your budget on holiday gifts, consider signing up for a BancorpSouth credit card to give you financial flexibility.
Sources: CDC, Energy.gov