The seasons are quickly changing, and the cold Michigan weather is upon us. Soon there will be snow on the ground and with that comes ice and freezing rain. Being a Michigan resident has it perks of getting to experience all four seasons, but a downside can be preparing for each seasonal transition.
There are a few standard items that all homeowners, and, even renters, can do to make sure their house is secure for the colder season. *Renters, you may want to check out some of these items to make sure that your landlord has these items covered. If not, your personal belongings could be at risk of experiencing a loss.
- Inspect your roof. Check to make sure there aren’t any new spots in the roof that are weak and could not withstand heavy snowfall. Repair any leaky areas and keep an eye out for your tree’s heavy branch hanging over your neighbor’s house. Avoid the liability now and take care of trimming it before it causes damage to yours or someone else’s home.
- The leaves on the trees are falling which means clean out those gutters! Dirt and leaves and other debris can build up, causing plugs in gutters that prevents water-flow and run-off in the appropriate places of your yard. Do this to avoid any unnecessary problems. Also, check for areas near the gutters where water could get in. This could create a potential ice dam down the line, and after experiencing this first-hand, trust me, it’s not an awesome experience. An ice dam forms when the melting snow (now water) refreezes in the gutters and then seeps under the roof causing the interior walls of that area in the home to become water damaged. Ventilating and insulating the attic can help to prevent this problem. Check with a professional on recommendations of the best fit for your home needs.
- If outside water valves are not needed during these cold months, shut them off if possible. If not possible, at a minimum, disconnect and drain all outside hoses.
- Weather-proofing with insulation, caulk, and/or weather strips around doors and windows is a small thing that can positively affect your energy bills this winter season.
- Tires. Tires. Tires. It’s very much about the tires on our vehicles here in Michigan. We deal with all different types of roads throughout the year that really tend to wear and tear on our vehicles, specifically, your tires. Have you checked the tread on your tires lately? Snow tires do exist for a reason. Make sure to inspect your tires prior to the icy road conditions that will soon be upon us!
- Keep your fluids full. Change your oil regularly, ensure your antifreeze is full, windshield wiper fluid is in working condition, and the gas tank topped off. You never know when you will get stuck in traffic during the colder months due to an accident.
- Many of us work very hard to make sure our vehicle stays in good, well-maintained working order. However, you just never know. Be prepared by packing a first-aid and safety kit in your vehicle during these chilly months. Items to pack include a blanket, gloves, hat, scarf, boots, bottled water, folding shovel (check out those Black Friday deals for one of these awesome shovels! Got mine a few years ago. It’s durable and was only $10!), flashlight, flares, and cell phone portable charger.
- Avoid an accident. Remove the snow from your vehicle in all areas including headlights, taillights, roof, and windows. This includes ice build up!
- Need to gain some traction? Toss a heavy weighted bag of salt or sand in your truck for added safety.
- To warm up the engine or not – fact or myth? In older cars this was encouraged. However, with the sensors in today’s manufactured vehicles, the sensors are created to adjust to the temperature to process the workings of the engine so that all is functioning properly even in the cold weather. According to the EPA and DOE in an article in the Washington Post, “The engine will warm up faster being driven.” Experts suggest in the same article that you “warm up” your car for about 30 seconds before hitting the road this winter season.
Stay safe and warm this winter season!