15 Ways to Winterize and Warm up to Winter
Sometimes Jack Frost knocks at the door before we have winterized it. Winterize is a term that denotes adaptation and preparation for cold weather. Not everyone warms up to winter, but this is the time of year to defrost your coping skills. These 15 tips can help you face the upcoming challenges of snow, wind and the big freeze.
The ways each of us can winterize and warm up to winter are dependent on so many factors. Geography in particular is something to be mindful of: in the northeast things can get kind of chilly, but just having a scarf and sweater isn’t the only cold weather strategy to have in place. Three of the main areas that needs to be winterized as temperatures drop are home, car, and attitude.
Winterizing a home involves more than just checking that the heating system works, although this is important. A home that is well-prepared for cold weather can endure the cold without the pipes freezing and the energy bill firing through your savings. There are many ways to achieve this. Factors such as the size and shape of your house, where you are located and the type of winter your region experiences are things to keep in mind.
- Drafty doors. If you see any gaps under major doorways, remember that this is how draft gets in and the warmth you are paying for gets out. Some people DIY it with draft snakes that look like long socks. You could also rubberize the bottom of the door. Or even a rolled towel could even temporarily fill in.
- Tune ups. Just like a car needs a tune up, your furnace needs to be cleaned, lubricated, and properly adjusted. If you haven’t scheduled your check up yet, make sure you put that in your day planner in case parts need to be replaced. While you are at it, replace or clean furnace filters as needed. Dirty filters restrict the airflow and increase energy demand.
- Preventative pipes. Water expands when it freezes and is a pipe’s weak spot. Uninsulated pipes are at most risk so a long-term preventive measure is to make sure your home is insulated, weather stripped, and caulked. In the short-term, you want to make sure you don’t leave home and turn the heat down or off. Also, learn how to thaw frozen pipes. There are often great tutorials on hardware stores websites.
- 4. Fired-up. Roasting marshmallows indoors may sound great, but for this to happen, you need to make sure your fireplace is in working order. Aside from a deep clean, you may want to get an annual inspection to check for unwanted animal nests, etc.
- Through the roof. If your roof is flat, you want to make sure that it is in top shape going into winter. This means looking out for early warning signs (loose shingles, stains, leaks, rot, mold) as well as cleaning your gutters. You could also consider snow guards. Snow guards are rooftop devices that allow snow and ice to drop off in small amounts. Or, they let snow and ice melt completely before falling to the ground.
Winterizing a car can mean different things depending on where you live but it generally involves a winter tune-up. You do this to make sure it will run effectively during snow, freezing rain and below zero temperatures. Here are a few tips for your to-do list.
- Consider winter tires. If you grew up in northern city, you pretty much know the rules – vehicles must be equipped with winter tires from December 15 to March 15, inclusively. Snow tires, also called winter or cold weather tires, are made of a softer rubber than all season tires which helps them to stay flexible. Also, they usually have tread patterns that could grip ice and snow. They aren’t magic, but the traction can be helpful.
- Check Your battery. Cold weather makes the car engine require more current from the battery to start the engine. Also, cold temperatures zap the amp-hour capacity of a car battery. If your battery is on its way out, you want to know that before you leave it parked outside in the cold all day.
- Remember to wipe. Wiper blades and wiper fluid are key to winter visibility. A working windshield is essential to safety. Keep your wiper fluid reservoir tapped up, and keep a spare in the trunk. Replace your worn-out wipers otherwise they may choke in the freezing rain.
- It’s salty. If you drive a small car, a bag of salt could help weigh your car down and prevent it from zig zagging on a frozen road. Salt is also the mortal enemy of ice, and having some in hand could be your best friend when it comes to carving a trail on slippery pavement.
- Get supplies while they last. A shovel, a flashlight, jumper cables, and an ice scraper are some essentials. Think of where you drive to (distances) and plan-out some worst-case scenarios. You may not need it, but having a plan in place is smart.
No matter where you live, if you start out with the “I hate winter” mantra, chances are, you will. You don’t have to fully embrace cold weather, but if you look at weather as a teacher, you might learn to adopt a less Scrooge-like attitude. Here are several ways to flip your frozen frown upside down.
- Change of pace. When weather makes you slowdown, which it often does, look at it as a break to an otherwise speedy life. Try to use the season to rest up when possible. Exhale.
- Soup’s on. Nothing like a crockpot of chicken soup for those long winter days when all you want is a hot meal at the end of the day. Embrace slow cooking.
- Layer it. Prepare for the season with layers. A room can change temperature over the course of a day, and if you sit still, you may feel colder as this happens. Dress for success.
- Keep moving. If you have the room for it, get a stand for your bike that allows you to use it as a stationary bike. Pick up some warm gear and go for a walk. Renew your gym membership. Cold weather can make us lazy. Resist the temptation to just chill out and stay active, even if it isn’t the same as summer.
- Get romantic. Candles and winter go hand in hand. Just lighting a few, hitting ‘play’ with soft music, and sitting with a loved one can be a great way to warm the heart and soul.>
‘Tis the Season
Winter may not be a wonderland for you, but it is a season and as such, it passes. Take it for what it is, slow down, prepare, and enjoy the ride.