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Preparing for Winter


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Posted

I posted something like this on Facebook, and though I would post it here as well to help everybody out.  Cold weather is fast approaching.  My garden has mostly died back except for my pumpkin vines.  According to 3 or 4 different predictions I've seen, they're expecting my region of the country to have an even worse winter than we had last year, and last year's was pretty rough.  In light of the fact that it is now September and we're getting some dark predictions from multiple sources, here are some tips for things you can do to help prepare yourself for the cold weather before it gets here.

 

- If you've never done it, now would be a good time to flush the coolant system on your car. Flush out all your old anti-freeze and re-fill it with clean anti-freeze. Anti-freeze doesn't just keep your engine from freezing up and cracking, but it also acts as an anti-corrosion agent for the inside of your engine, water pump, etc., and it does need to be changed occasionally. Failing to do so could cause the water lines to rust/corrode, and losing fluid because of a leaky radiator in the dead of winter is not something you want to go through. Anti-freeze doesn't just stop the engine from over-heating, it is also where your car's heater gets its heat.
 
- Drain your car's washer fluid and re-fill it with de-icer.
 
- If your vehicle's heater isn't working properly, now would be the time to fix it.
 
- Make sure you have a secondary source of heat, if you heat primarily with electricity. A kerosene heater, coal/wood burning stove, propane, something to keep you warm when the electricity goes out. If you heat with coal, kerosene or wood, now would be a good time to build up a good stockpile.
 
- Check the tread depth on all 4 tires of your car and make sure you have all weather tires, or at the very least have a good amount of tread left on the tires you do have.
 
- Make sure you have some emergency equipment in your car like a blanket, flashlight, jack, tire tool, tow rope/chain, maybe even a small propane heater (the kind that take the little coleman propane canisters) to help you if you happen to break down in really cold weather.  I'd recommend keeping a tow rope/chain even if you drive a car, because you never know who might come by and be able to pull you out with your rope even if they don't have one of their own. I also recommend a secondary mode of communication (something other than a cell phone, I consider a cell phone a primary means of communication) like a CB radio.
 
- Have your car's battery and alternator checked. Advance will check them for you for free. Your battery may work fine now, but you also want to know that it'll reliably start your car when it's 5 below zero. When it gets that cold, batteries lose juice, so take yours down to Car Quest, Advance, or NAPA and have them check the life of your battery, and that your alternator isn't showing signs of wear.
 
- Purchase a NOAA weather radio. Many police scanners can access the NOAA frequencies as well. Whenever there's severe weather headed our way I try to record parts of the NOAA transmissions and post the audio to Facebook, but you should have a NOAA radio so that even if the local radio station goes down (because apparently they don't believe in generators at WRLV) and the power goes out, you'll be able to keep up with the latest weather advisories and forecasts. There's 4 or 5 frequencies within our listening distance that you can hear with battery operated scanners/NOAA radios even if there's no power or cell phone service.
 
- Double check all of the insulation under the floor of your house. Make sure that your water lines are adequately protected from the open air, and that your underpinning is in good repair.
 
- Take out any window air conditioners you have, or place a large plastic bag over the outside portion of it to keep cold air from coming in.
 
- Consider having the under-carriage of your car sprayed with rubberized undercoating, or painted at the very least, to help protect it from corrosion caused by road salt.
 
- Remember your pets.  If you have outside dogs, consider bringing them inside, or at the very least rigging up a heat bulb to keep them warm when it gets cold outside.
 
There's all sorts of other information available at ready.gov, you can check it out here: http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather
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Posted

Some nice tips for people living in colder areas.

I'm glad I never have to worry about any of this, we never have temps lower then 16

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Posted

Glad I live in the desert. My winter prep is to go outside and enjoy the future 9 months of great weather. For all the others that have to deal with solid water, great advice from the OP.

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Posted

I don't live in a country that gets that cold (Scotland) but we do occasionally get some pretty dire weather. Good tips all round really. It may not get super cold here (coldest i can remember was -15 and that wasn't normal), but everything is relative and even 0 degrees can seem a lot colder and be quite dangerous.

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Posted

Some nice tips for people living in colder areas.

I'm glad I never have to worry about any of this, we never have temps lower then 16

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Posted

Yes, but you have the highest murder rate in the world. 

I'd take the cold, any day. :)

 

That's mainly in the big cities and gang related.

 

I live on one of the islands where there is barely any violence.

When I do go to the mainland I don't feel unsafe at all, at least not more then in any other bigger city

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Posted

That's mainly in the big cities and gang related.

 

I live on one of the islands where there is barely any violence.

When I do go to the mainland I don't feel unsafe at all, at least not more then in any other bigger city

 

Good to hear.

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Posted

I don't live in a country that gets that cold (Scotland) but we do occasionally get some pretty dire weather. Good tips all round really. It may not get super cold here (coldest i can remember was -15 and that wasn't normal), but everything is relative and even 0 degrees can seem a lot colder and be quite dangerous.

Last winter was pretty rough here.  We had a lot of days where it got down to -5 or lower fahrenheit.  One morning I went outside to start my pickup and it was -8 fahrenheit (-22 celsius) on my front porch, with a wind-chill of -35 F (-37 C), and that morning I did notice my truck hesitated to start.  It started, but the starter had a noticeable drag at that temperature.  The schools ended up cancelling something like 30 days of school because of weather, and in the next town over the municipal water lines froze and burst so the people who depended on city water went without for 3 or 4 days while they repaired all the busted water lines.

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Posted

Cold weather is fast approaching.

 

 

We had 80's all week :huh:

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Posted

Last winter was pretty rough here.  We had a lot of days where it got down to -5 or lower fahrenheit.  One morning I went outside to start my pickup and it was -8 fahrenheit (-22 celsius) on my front porch, with a wind-chill of -35 F (-37 C), and that morning I did notice my truck hesitated to start.  It started, but the starter had a noticeable drag at that temperature.  The schools ended up cancelling something like 30 days of school because of weather, and in the next town over the municipal water lines froze and burst so the people who depended on city water went without for 3 or 4 days while they repaired all the busted water lines.

Kentucky, eh? Try living in Rochester, NY. Take what you just wrote, multiply it by 10, and that's the Winter we had. My car didn't make it out alive. :(

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Posted

Kentucky, eh? Try living in Rochester, NY. Take what you just wrote, multiply it by 10, and that's the Winter we had. My car didn't make it out alive. :(

Yeah, with temperatures as low as they were, if this winter is supposed to be even colder, I'm considering getting a block warmer to heat up the oil pan and things before actually starting my truck.  I've heard that most of the wear on normal engines actually takes place in the first second or two of operation when all of the oil has settled into the oil pan and the pistons go through a stroke or two with no lubrication until the oil pump gets the oil flowing.  When it gets really cold, your oil thickens and makes it more difficult for the oil pump to move lubricant around until the engine heats up.  A block warmer would help compensate for frigid temperatures by warming up the oil for me.

 

NY is one state I've actually never been to, but I've seen video/photo of the winters you guys can have up there, so I know it gets pretty crazy sometimes, :p

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Kentucky, eh? Try living in Rochester, NY. Take what you just wrote, multiply it by 10, and that's the Winter we had. My car didn't make it out alive. :(

 

Yep,

Know the feeling as I believe you should be some what near a large lake and get that lake effect crap like I do here in West Michigan off from Lake Michigan.

 

Last year was the second snowiest ever and I believe either #1 or 2 as far as cold also.

 

Winter/cold sucks and I wish I could find  a way out of this ice box in the winter!

 

When I saw the topic to this, I just wanted to say STFU as there is no need to start talking about the winter crap already!! :)

 

Good tips for anyone who hasn't experienced a good winter though.

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Posted

Wow OP, you're pretty hardcore with the preparations lol. I'll get my tires changed around the end of november/ beginning of december and put the patio furniture in the shed. :D

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Posted

-37

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Wow OP, you're pretty hardcore with the preparations lol. I'll get my tires changed around the end of november/ beginning of december and put the patio furniture in the shed. :D

Well we lose power for days on end sometimes when it gets really cold, and I'd really rather not have to pack up the wife, 2 kids, 2 dogs, a lizard, the fish and head down to the local high school or something to keep from freezing to death, or have to re-floor the house because of busted water pipes, etc.

 

I remember when I was stationed at Fort Lewis up in Washington, we got an ice storm once and lost power for 4 days, and everybody panicked, crashed into phone poles, crowded into gyms for heat, etc., and we did just fine because we had taken the time to set ourselves up for success before the weather ever got cold, :p

 

I used to tell guys I worked with up there that, "If you wait until your power goes out to run down to the store and buy those dinky little cords of firewood, you're only screwing yourself because everybody else is gonna do the same exact thing."

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Posted

Yeah, with temperatures as low as they were, if this winter is supposed to be even colder, I'm considering getting a block warmer to heat up the oil pan and things before actually starting my truck.

If it gets that damned cold I am staying at home until Spring.

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