Unless you live south of the equator during our winters, chances are, winters aren’t pleasant! Even if snow is beautiful and scenic, the day-to-day adventures of being in winter weather poses many dangers that you can and should avoid. Cold temperatures and road conditions can cause health, travel, and walking hazards! This is also true for your pets.
So, what are all the dangers of winter and how can you avoid them? Planning ahead can minimize the danger and impact. So let’s talk preparation! Namely:
preventing ice dams
properly melting snow
wintering your vehicle and other equipment, and
how to safely melt ice
Let’s start with your pets.
Preparing your pet for winter
Pets, like humans, suffer from the same winter dangers; frostbite and hypothermia.
Things to consider:
Protection from heaters
Leaving the pet unattended in a vehicle
It’s a good idea to buy your pet a coat (unless the pet has a heavy coat).
How to prepare your home for winter
According to the reports released by the CDC; there were 6,600 deaths in the United States related to exposure from excessive cold, hyperthermia, or both. Preparing for winter takes a little proactive thinking. Consider the following for preparation:
To prevent heat loss from your home, and to save money on energy bills, consider weather strips for your doors and windows.
Check your insulation. Proper insulation can reduce heat loss.
This is a good time to consider an alternative energy source. Wood and coal serve as good alternatives.
It’s a good idea to keep emergency supplies such as; first aid kits in your home.
You may also consider having medical supplies such as; oxygen tanks, mobility scooters, and pacemakers.
Communication is important. You want to be sure that you have alternative charging devices for your mobile phones and computers.
Keep plenty of food and water in the home. Don’t forget your precious pets!
Depending on your location, you may not have access to wood or coal. In these cases, a generator is a good investment.
How to prepare your car for winter
Your car is always in much colder temperatures than you and your home. Keep in mind that oftentimes, snow and ice live on your car until the sun comes out to play. It is important to take maintenance precautions prior to the start of the season. Here are some suggestions for winterizing your vehicle:
Make sure that your battery is in top shape. Batteries do not like the cold winter weather. Low temperatures reduce a battery’s power by 50%. It’s a good idea to have a mechanic check it out before the season begins.
A better idea is to take your vehicle in for a full inspection. You want to be sure that your radiator, brakes, and other equipment are functioning properly. You want to be sure that your fluids are at proper levels as well. Same goes for your oil and fuel line.
Your vehicles heating system is important to check as well. You need it to keep warm and to keep the windows and windshield from frosting up.
Windshield wipers. You must have proper visibility to remain safe.
Tires are definitely important. Make sure that they are safe; properly inflated with recommended tread.
Preventing Ice Dams
Ice dams are those ice ridges that form at the edge of a roof. They prevent the melting snow from draining off the roof. The following types from disastersafety.org will help prevent ice dams from forming:
Keep all drains, scuppers, gutters, and downspouts free of debris and vegetation that may restrict proper flow.
Remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open attic areas directly under the roof.
Insulate light fixtures in the ceiling below an unheated attic space.
If you have penetrations into the attic, such as vents; seal and insulate them so that daylight cannot be seen, and airflow is minimal.
If ice dams form around the drains, connect heating cables to the drains to prevent ice buildup. Heating cables can also be placed on the roof, connecting them to the drainage system so a path is created for the melting ice to follow.
How to properly melt snowy sidewalks
There are a range of ice melt products that will help make it easier to shovel your icy sidewalks and driveways. There are natural alternatives that can be used as well.
These natural alternatives are all used for traction and “grip”. Although good for traction, they do not melt ice. Generally, the best idea is to mix a natural alternative with an ice melt product. Keep in mind that using ice melt products on a consistent basis can cause damage such as pits in cement. Pits can lead to cracks and potholes.
Winterizing Your Accessories (four wheelers, lawn mowers, RV’s, etc.)
Winterizing your equipment ensures that it is ready or use when the next season arrives. Consider the following steps when your equipment has completed its last job of the season.
Drain the fuel. You want fresh fuel of months of not using the equipment. Old fuel can lead to thick buildup.
Make sure you give the batteries in your equipment, the same care that you give the battery in your vehicle. Make sure it is fully charged and in top shape.
Like your car, your equipment needs oil changes. You should drain the oil and replace it after the equipment’s last job of the season.
Clean out the filters and plugs. It’ a good idea to remove dirt.
Store in a dry place. Water causes corrosion.
This is a good time to check your homeowners and other insurance policies to make sure that your coverage is adequate. Stay one step ahead of winter!
About Jason Cass
I am the Co-Owner of The Insurance Alliance. I love to speak nationally on the topic of insurance and I am the author of “Customer Service is Just Foreplay” an Amazon Best Seller. I don’t sell insurance, I help people buy it.