The harsh, cold winter of Illinois is coming, and in order to remain safe and healthy this winter season, it is important to take the time to prepare. With these preparations in place, you will be ready to brave the storm:
- Make your home winter efficient. Winter’s elements can certainly take a toll on your home. This is why you should prepare your home now, so that your family will remain warm and comfortable when the temperature begins to drop. You should check all windows and doors for drafts. If you feel any cool air coming into your home, the window or door will need to be properly resealed or replaced before December arrives. Make sure that your attic is properly insulated, as well as any major water lines. Also, set aside a day to clean out all of your gutters, as well as repair any leaking pipes or leaks in your roof.
- Check that your home’s heating systems are working properly. Inspect your furnace to make sure that its vent is clean. You should also test your thermostat and furnace by lowering the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees. Make sure the furnace turns on and your vents begin releasing warm air, and that the thermostat’s temperature reading rises over time. If you have a fireplace that you utilize during the winter months, you should check it and the chimney to make sure they are both clean. Once you are sure that your heating system is working, you should test your smoke detector’s batteries as well as install a carbon monoxide detector if you do not already have one.
- Get your car ready for the cold. Ensure that your car is ready to bare the cold by having its radiator and antifreeze levels checked. You also want to check your tire tread and replace tires with snow tires if necessary, as well as have your brakes checked. It also is a good idea to have your windshield wipers replaced if they are due for a replacement. You can ask the auto body shop to use winter blades. Next, you should prepare a winter emergency kit that you keep in your car in case your car breaks down. Items that you should put in the kit are a portable charger, blankets, extra winter clothes, gloves, food, water, a flashlight, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, an ice scraper, jumper cables and flares. Lastly, you should always make sure you have a full tank of gas before driving.
- Tend to your sidewalks and driveway. If you plan to have guests over or will be leaving your house for work or another commitment, you need to carefully clear your sidewalk of any piled snow so that no one trips or falls. You also can spread ice melt or salt to help melt the ice after a snowstorm or freezing rain has occurred.
- Dress warm, and stay inside if possible. Always wear appropriate winter clothing when leaving the house, such as a heavy winter coat, a scarf, gloves, a hat and waterproof boots. Even if the weather does not seem hazardous when you are leaving the house, things can change quickly and you want to be prepared. Last but certainly not least, avoid traveling in dangerous winter weather.
While the winter and its cold temperatures come every year, we so often forget to properly prepare. We wish you a happy, safe winter season!