Winter has arrived

The mild weather has slipped away with the arrival of a bitter cold snap. I had been talking to people in New Mexico telling them, ‘oh, we haven’t had a good freeze yet and no snow’ while they were shoveling out. I guess I got what I was asking for. The high is going to be a sizzling 32 degrees today! YAY! (note my sarcasm…) But still no snow.

While it’s getting cold, everything needs to be prepared for winter. For your car, you should:
Check your battery-Make sure you aren’t going to be left on the side of the road looking for a jump
Check your tires-The National Highway Transportation Safety Board says you need at least 2/32″ of depth to be safe. The penny test is a good way to see if you need some new shoes. Your tires probably also could use some more air because cold temps tend to make tires lose some pressure.
Wipers- Replace old wipers that aren’t cutting it (and make sure to throw an ice scraper in the backseat)
Anti-freeze-the level needs to be full of a 50/50 mix of anitfreeze and water
Washer fluid- Make sure you’re topped off so you can get that highway sand sludge out of your sight
Emergency kit- Make yourself a kit in case of breakdown or accident that has a blanket, small shovel, flares, gloves, boots, tire chains, food, water, flashlight and a cell phone.

For your home you should:
Test your heating system and/or clean ducts of dust
Install carbon monoxide detectors
Cover any air conditioning units you may have
Have your chimney swept and/or inspected BEFORE you have your first fire of the year
Insulate exterior pipes and faucets
Check windows and doors for drafts and seal with rope caulk or shrink-wrap
Check your roof for possible problems
Clean out gutters and downspouts

For your pets, make sure to:
Provide them with adequate shelter or allow them inside to get out of the cold
Check toes and tails for signs of frost-bite
Make sure they have water (not just snow) that is not frozen
Consider sweaters for small or short-haired dogs
Watch for salt and deicer on your pets feet, it can irritate and be painful. Vaseline on their paws (or booties if they’ll stand it) will help to keep salt out of cracks
Trim hair between their toes to prevent ice balls from forming
Make sure to buy antifreeze with bittering agents or make sure to clean up any spills (antifreeze is very poisonous to pets)
Avoid leaving poinsettias on the ground (poisonous to dogs) and avoid using tinsel on your tree (animals eat it and can end up with severe intestinal damage requiring surgery)
ALWAYS bang on the hood or honk before starting your car to alert any animals that may have crawled into your engine to keep warm

~ by accordingtoleanne on December 8, 2009.

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