The Office of Consumer Affairs gives advice on how to winterize your car, self, house and pets.
They warn to keep the gas tank near full to avoid ice forming in the tank and fuel lines. Replace dry and cracked wiper blades and keep windshield washer fluid filled. Inspect tires to ensure they’re properly inflated. Continue regular maintenance and have your battery tested. Carry a kit with jumper cables, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, safety flares, water, non-perishable food, ice scraper, shovel and a bag of sand or litter for extra traction.
Winterize your home
Clean gutters to clear debris and turn off outside water lines and open outside spigots to drain standing water from pipes. Turn inside faucets on during very cold days and let a thin stream of water flow to keep pipes from freezing. Have your furnace inspected and stock on filters. Have a stock of candles, matches, lighters, a portable radio and flashlights to use during a power outage. Keep shovels and salt in stock for driveways and walkways.
Take care of yourself
Stock up on medications and ask your doctor if you should get the flu shot. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and don’t skip out on exercise and getting enough sleep. Dress for the weather with mittens, gloves, hats, warm socks and boots with traction. If you suffer, or think you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of winter depression, try to get out in the daylight for a period of time each day.
Don’t forget your pets
Make sure all of your pets have collars with contact information on ID tags. Outdoor pets need to be brought indoors when it gets very cold. If you absolutely must leave them out, make sure they have a warm, solid shelter against the winter and thick bedding. If outside, they should also be given additional food for extra energy. Make sure all animals have access to clean water that is not frozen. If you walk your pet on sidewalks that are treated with de-icer, clean their paws when you get home to avoid chemical irritation. Keep pets away from antifreeze as it can be deadly. Dogs with long fur on the bottom of their paws can develop balls of ice in between their pads and toes. To prevent this, apply Vaseline, a cooking oil that is safe for dogs, or PAM spray to their paws before taking them out. Owners could also use boots to protect their pets’ paws. Lastly, keep an eye on outdoor cats because they might crawl into a warm car engine but this can kill them. It is safer to keep them indoors.