Winter is just around the corner and it’s time to start preparing your home and car for the harsh weather ahead. Cold weather can cause a multitude of problems for your house and vehicle, so it’s best to get in front of any problems before winter hits.
Being prepared for winter will give you peace of mind and it might even help you save money. With frigid temperatures ahead, the last thing you need is a faulty heating system, frozen pipes, a broken-down car or a damaged home. Thankfully, precautions can be taken to prevent some of these problems.
Better Business Bureau offers tips for winterizing your home and car:
• Do your research. Ask friends and family about companies they’ve used and been happy with. Also, check out online reviews on companies. Be sure the business is properly licensed, insured or bonded to perform the work. Compare bids for pricing and job scope.
• Get everything in writing. Make sure whatever work and pricing you’ve agreed on is in writing. This helps everyone (consumers and businesses) be accountable.
• Inspect your home’s caulking and weather stripping to prevent air leaks. In addition, ensure doors and windows are shut tightly and no cold air is coming in due to worn down weather stripping.
• Clean your heating ducts. Ducts should be cleaned out once every two years. Consider adding insulation to any exposed ductwork to prevent losing heated air.
• Reverse ceiling fans. By switching your fan to a clockwise rotation, air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space and can cut heating costs up to 10 percent.
• Unclog gutters and ridge vents. Rainwater could back up and freeze, causing the gutters to expand and crack. The ridge vents need to be cleaned as well to help prevent stagnate air.
• Change air filters. Clean filters are a great way to reduce indoor air especially during winter months when you have less natural ventilation.
• Check pipes. Wrap in places like basements, crawl spaces and garages where it’s unheated so they don’t bust. Also, remove garden hoses from the faucet.
• Replace window and door screens with storm windows and doors.
• Replace or refill your car’s fluids. Oil, coolant and wiper fluid should all be filled to help prevent problems.
• Make sure your car battery is in solid working condition as it can lose power due to cold temperatures.
• Pack emergency kits. They should include items, such as a flashlight, snacks, blankets and a first aid kit.
• Ensure your car tires are well-pressurized. Always keep a spare tire and tire changing tools in your car.
The best way to combat the negative effects of winter is to be proactive. By taking time to inspect your car and home, you’re ensuring a smooth, safe winter for you and your family.
As you select companies to help with your winterizing needs, turn to the BBB. It can provide lists of BBB Accredited Businesses in specific industries, as well as Business Profiles on ones you’re considering. Visit bbb.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301.
The writer is the president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and Miami Valley.