We all love the warmer weather. From spending time at the beach to tending the gardens that award us with such pride, taking advantage of the sunshine never seems to get old. Unfortunately these days are not as many as we would like and before you know it, the leaves are changing and the breeze has developed a bite. And if you live anywhere other than the west coast, that bite can downright hurt. Like it or not, fall and winter are coming. But fear not – here are some tips on how to make the transition from warm to cool (to simply cold!) as painlessly as possible in the two places we spend most of our time: home and in the car.
Since you will most likely be spending most of your time indoors you will want to start your preparations there. The most time consuming area of readying one’s house for the winter is often switching wardrobes. Away with the light, airy tops and in with the cardigans. The capris can come again next year, it’s corduroy’s turn to shine! (This would also be a great time to take an honest look at the clothes you have and perhaps give some to charity.) And don’t think this only applies to the ladies. Men who sport a variety of colors may want to swap the lighter pastel shirts for more earthy tones. That said, consider leaving a favorite summer top in a place where you will happen upon it from time to time in those cold months as a reminder of the spring temperatures to come!
Your house itself will need some attention as well. Depending on the climate you may want to cover windows with plastic sheathing and add insulation strips to doorjambs to prevent drafts. Check your weather stripping around the outside doors to make sure that the heat is not escaping. You would be surprised how much heat sneaks out of those spaces in the doorjambs in the winter, sending your heating bill sky high.
You should check you air filter to make sure that is is clean. A clogged air filter can cause extensive damage to your HVAC system. If you check your air filter regularly, you ensure the longevity of your system — saving yourself thousands in possible repair and replacement costs. Dirt and neglect are one of the leading causes of heating and cooling systems failing, yet such failure is completely avoidable. Cleaning out or changing a clogged air filter will also save you a significant amount on operating costs. In simplest terms, a dirty air filter uses much more energy than a new, clean air filter, which means a much higher electricity bill for you. You can, by keeping your air filter clean and in good condition, save up to 15% on utility costs. Keeping your air filter clean also has a lot of health benefits for everyone in your home, especially children and the elderly, and particularly for those suffering from allergies and/or asthma. Calling in a heating professional to tune up your furnace is also a sound – and affordable – investment. When the leaves start to change color and fall from the branches where you live, it is a good time to place a tarp over your air conditioning unit to keep the coils free from ice and debris.
If you live in an area where snow, sleet and worse can fall from the sky at any given moment you will want to have a supply of ice melt (“rock salt”) on hand, along with a sturdy shovel or two. It is dangerous to wait until you see snow in the forecast to stock up, since that is what most other folks do. Even the biggest of big box stores will have trouble keeping stock when the weather turns bad. While all of this is important, none of it is as important as you. Keep track of your mood and energy levels. If you live alone, stay in touch with friends and family. Seasonal melancholy is common yet easily overlooked. You can take care of your things but not at the expense of you.
Your car is exposed to the elements more than you are so taking care of it is paramount. First of all proper tires are a must. A national chain store such as Pep Boys or National Tire and Battery (NTB) can steer you in the right direction (no pun intended) when choosing the proper tire for you car and climate. While you have the car in front of a mechanic, you will want to ask them to check that the heater is in proper working order. There are many more moving parts in a heating system than there used to be and only a professional should be trusted with something so vital. And since the car is already in the shop, think about a full tune up or, at the very least, a check of major components. A working heater and new tires won’t do you much good if your car can’t leave your driveway! The peace of mind is far greater than any money you would spend.
These are only a few of the ways you may want to ready yourself and your home for the cold. There are many more ways to get your home ready for cold weather and we would love to hear what you do to prepare. Let us know in the comment section below.