Saturday, 14 November 2015

Winter (and other) Hacks for Your Car and Home

It’s finally getting to be that time of year again, Halloween is in the rear view mirror, fall is winding down and winter is just around the corner. There’s a lot to look forward to about winter- the return of hockey, the holiday season, hot cocoa, fresh powder snow on the ski slopes- but there’s a lot to be apprehensive about too. Cold weather, slick roads, and flu season are all part of the reason why most of us have a love/hate relationship with the winter months. That doesn’t have to be the case, though, with the right preparation, you, your house, and your car, can fall all the way in love with winter all over again.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, make sure your car is in tip-top shape. Depending on where you live, you may or may not be required by law to switch over to winter tires, but in the interest of safety, it’s a good idea to get them put on either way. While you’re at it, flush and refresh your anti-freeze, replace your wiper fluid with one that contains anti-freeze and have both systems checked for any damage, it’s been a long summer and they could either or both have sustained damage without you being aware of it. If you’re due or overdue for a tune-up, schedule it before the winter months, Canadian winters tend to hit hard with little warning and you don’t want to be stuck unprepared for an unanticipated problem on top of everything. You’ll want to ensure you have a well-prepared emergency kit in your trunk as well, stock it with flares, a flashlight (with extra batteries), blankets, some matches, an old-fashioned battery operated hand radio, a tool kit, sleeping bags, candles, fire starter matches, a shovel, road maps, a first aid kit and anything else you can think of that you or your family might need in the case of a break down mid-winter. The key message to take is preparedness all-round, don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Here is a video from our friends at Buzzfeed that provides some helpful car-related hacks that you will love.

And here is a post from them with more helpful hacks, especially for winter.

Back on the home front, the same principle applies, prepare as best as you can ahead of time. Check your weather stripping and insulation, check for drafts around windows and doors and give your house a general once-over indoors and out, keeping an eye out for any issues which could cause undue inconvenience over the winter months. Do the same for the garage, you and your car will be spending much more time there over the winter months, so it’s best to get everything into tip-top shape before the fact rather than after it. The final stage of prep revolves around tools and supplies, bring the summer and fall gear- the rakes, the gardening implements, the lawnmower in and out of the way into winter storage and bust out the shovels, scrapers, salt bags, and sand bags, and give them a once-over to make sure everything is in working order. Salt and sand, in particular, are too often left as an after-thought until the first snowfall actually hits, but we all know how inconsistent the weather forecasts can be and if the station is calling for a light dusting and you anticipate being able to drive to the store to stock up you may be sorely disappointed.

And there you have it. There’s really not a lot to prepping for the winter, just one to two solid days of shopping and maintenance, so set aside a weekend soon and get it done. You’ll thank us for it.