Cold weather is just around the corner and there is plenty to do to get ready.


Car care

• Check your antifreeze.

• Prepare an emergency kit that contains a flashlight, jumper cables, tire chains and tools. Throw in a bag of sand or kitty litter. The extra weight can help with traction.

• Check your battery.

• Replace windshield wipers.

• Keep your tires at the proper pressure.

• Try to keep your gas tank at least half full, this helps to keep gas lines from freezing.


Home care

• Seal all windows, exterior doors and garages with weatherstripping.

• Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans.

• Replace single-paned windows with newer energy efficient windows.

• Insulate attics with a product that has an R-value between 20 and 30.

• Install a programmable thermostat that can vary a homes temperature throughout the day.

• Gravitate from electrical heat to natural gas or propane; it can save you thousands.

• Seal concrete in garages, driveways and porches.

• Avoid running humidifiers at full capacity as the moisture can cause mold to contaminate ductwork.

• Put foam insulation on pipes in basements.

• Drain swamp coolers.

• Check all vents for animal nests or other blockages.

• Avoid the accumulation of ice dams around your roof.

• Keep portable space heaters at least 3 feet away from combustibles and turn them off when you go to sleep or leave.

• Beware of falling, tumbling off ladders putting up holiday decorations or slipping on unmaintained outdoor paths.


Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.