20 Helpful Tips That Will Get You Through This Winter Season

1. Keep your headlights clear with car wax! Just wipe ordinary car wax on your headlights. It contains special water repellents that will prevent that messy mixture from accumulating on your lights – lasts 6 weeks.

2. Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

3. For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures, mix 1 teaspoon of  dish washing liquid, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon hot/warm water and pour over walkways. They won’t re-freeze.

4. Hate scraping off ice? With 2/3 Vinegar 1/3 water! Just spray on windows and ice will melt away.

5. Squeak-proof your wipers with rubbing alcohol! Wipe the wipers with a cloth saturated with rubbing alcohol or ammonia. This one trick can make badly streaking & squeaking wipers change to near perfect silence & clarity.

6. Ice-proof your windows with vinegar! Just fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water & spritz it on all your windows at night. In the morning, they’ll be clear of icy mess. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which raises the melting point of water—preventing water from freezing!

7. Prevent car doors from freezing shut with cooking spray.  Simply spray cooking oil on the rubber seals around car doors & rub it in with a paper towel. The cooking spray prevents water from melting into the rubber

8.  Consider ordering insulating drapes or shades for the winter.  You won’t feel drafty after weatherizing.

9.  Fog-proof your windshield with shaving cream! Spray some shaving cream on the inside of your windshield & wipe if off with paper towels. Shaving cream has many of the same ingredients found in commercial defoggers.

10. De-ice your lock in seconds with hand sanitizer! Just put some hand sanitizer gel on the key and lock.

11.  Shucks!  Your car just got stuck.  Do not spin your wheels.  Spinning the wheels only makes them dig in deeper.  Simply turn your wheels from side to side, which will push the snow out of the way.  Slightly touch the gas, and try to ease your car out.  Have a shovel and kitty litter packed in the trunk in case you do get stuck.  A shovel allows you to clear the snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car. Sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt will allow your wheels get traction.  Another trick- try rocking the vehicle. Shift from forward to reverse, and back again.  Moving the vehicle forward and back, might allow the vehicle new footing.

12.  Save Gas, here is how:  Avoid aggressive driving, such as jack rabbit starts, speeding, accelerating, and quick breaking.  Give yourself enough time to get where you are needed.  Decrease your stress levels by allowing yourself a cup of coffee at your workplace or appointment without arriving frantically.  Giving yourself enough time on the road will prevent accidents and save you on gas.  Check and replace dirty air filters.  Doing this will decrease your gas mileage up to 10%.  Fill up your gas tank in the morning, than in the middle of the day.  The heat causes the gas to expand, and since gas is measured in volume, not density, filling up in the am, will save you more money.

13.Should you warm up your car in winter?   We all have been told that “warming up” the car for a few minutes is necessary to avoid some kind of unspecified damage. Rob Maier, who runs Maier’s Garage in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He says, “You don’t really need to idle your car, because of the efficiency of modern fuel injection, which eliminated carburetors and chokes. The only reason to let the car idle at all is to get the oil circulating, but after 30 seconds that’s a done deal. My truck has 150,000 miles on it, and I just throw it into gear and go.” Ten Seconds Is All You Need, they say. Driving Warms the Car Faster than Idling. Bob Aldrich of the California Energy Commission points out that “idling is not actually an effective way to warm up a car — it warms up faster if you just drive it.” Read more about this at TheDailyGreen.com

14. Pets are vulnerable in the winter.  Keep your dog leashed when outside, as dogs can lose scents in snow and get lost.  Be sure pets have id, and contact info on their collars.  Keep your dog’s coat longer in the winter for warmth. If you have a short-haired pet, get a coat or sweater for the winter. Not only will they look adorable, it will help them to keep warm.  Outdoor cats and wildlife will often sleep under hoods of cars.  Be sure to bang on the hood before starting the car to give the animal a chance to escape.   Antifreeze can be fatal to a pet, even in small amounts.   Don’t ever dump antifreeze on the ground, and store it away from pets.   Use plastic food and water bowls instead of metal because your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.   Keep pets away from heating pads, as they can get a shock from chewing on electric cords.

15. Winter shoveling tips- Liberally apply cooking spray to both sides of a plastic or metal shovel before clearing away snow, and ice will slide right off instead of building up.

16. Prepare your car for winter- Make sure you have the right amount of anti-freeze in your car.   Anti-freeze protects your car from freezing in cold conditions so make sure you have the right ratio (a 1:1 ratio is normal) of anti-freeze to water in your radiator.  Check your battery.  Batteries typically last 3-5 years.  Batteries tend to work harder in the winter months and because of this they tend to wear out faster.  Have winter tires on your vehicle, and be sure to check the tire pressure.  Deflated tires significantly decrease traction, which will make sliding on icy patches a lot more likely.

17.  When it’s freezing cold outside, we tend to want to warm up by taking a bath or a steaming hot shower.  Excessive heat can dry out the skin immensely.  Try some organic solutions than just typical skin cream that tends to have lots of chemicals which are then soaked into the skin.  Buy a  humidifier, which adds moisture to the air.   Add some organic ingredients to your bath such as  coconut oil, milk and honey. Consider using rich moisturizers with an oil base like avocado oil or almond oil after a hot bath.

18.  Winterize your pipes before the temperature drops.  When water freezes, it expands. When the  temperature of your pipes drops below 32 degrees, even for a short period, you run the risk of a pipe fracture.  Disconnect and store garden hoses in the fall.  Drain your garden hoses before winter, and turn off the water to your outside lines, and drain the lines before the temperature drops.  You may want to call in a professional company to blow out any leftover water in the underground lines.  Never turn off the heat when you leave home during the winter.

19.  Program your thermostat.  In the winter, set the thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees during the day and to 58 degrees at night or when away from home for several hours.   Never use a fireplace as a heat source for your home. Even as a supplemental heat source, the cold air introduced to a warm home through an open flue isn’t as efficient as sealing off a fireplace and using the primary source of heat.

20. Lower water heater to 120-125 degrees. Many water heaters are automatically set at 140 degrees. Lowering the temperature on your water heater to between 120 and 125 degrees will reduce the amount of fuel needed to heat the water.  Add an insulation blanket to water heater. Wrapping the water heater with an insulation blanket can save heating money by slowing the drop in temperature from the hot water tank as it sits unused. Inexpensive insulation kits are available at most home improvement stores.

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A thick frost clings to trees in a grove alongside Beloit Road between Sharon and Walworth Monday morning. From Photo Of The Day

Essential Car Tools For The Winter Season

Wool-BlanketsEssential Tools For Your Car Or Truck

With the exception of the home and workplace, more time is spent in automobiles than perhaps anywhere else. Unfortunately, traveling in a car can be fraught with problems. Besides the obvious fact that cars break down from time to time, auto accidents are also a real concern. Becoming stuck in ice and snow is a potential problem in winter, and becoming lost is a possibility while driving in a new area. With all of this in mind, it’s important to be prepared for anything. Here are the top five tools to have in the trunk at all times.

1. Flares

Emergency flares are an important part of any emergency kit. These small, tube-like flares are easy to light and they burn with a very bright light that is ideal for increasing visibility. In case of an accident or breakdown, flares should be placed along the road a short distance from the car to alert oncoming motorists and avoid additional accidents. They can also be used as a signaling device if necessary due to their high visibility.

2. Jumper Cables

Nothing is worse than turning over the ignition key and hearing nothing in response. Whether it’s caused by a malfunctioning alternator, a faulty battery or simply forgetting to shut the car lights off, a dead battery can quickly become a major headache. Fortunately, jumper cables are an easy-to-use solution that can have a car up and running in no time with the assistance of another motorist.

Attach one end of the red cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Do the same to the charged battery. Attach the black cable to the negative terminal of the charged battery, and finally attach the other end of the black cable to any exposed piece of metal from the dead battery’s engine to create a ground. The car with the dead battery should start and run as it normally would. Finally, remove the cables in the reverse order.


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3. First Aid Kit

Injuries can happen anywhere, and it’s important to have the supplies necessary to deal with them. Whether it’s a small cut or a minor injury resulting from an auto accident, a well-stocked first aid kit is an essential item. A basic kit should contain gauze pads, antiseptic ointment, band aids, burn treatment, latex gloves, adhesive tape and scissors. It’s also important to learn how to properly use each of these items to properly treat various injuries.

4. Water

While it’s possible to survive a week or more without food, survival can drop to a couple of days without water. It’s possible to become stuck in an area with no access to water, so it’s important to have an adequate supply for at least a few days stored somewhere in the car. While several gallons is ideal, it’s important to have at least one gallon at all times. In addition, water can be a quick and effective solution for an overheating engine if engine coolant isn’t available.

5. Blankets and Clothing

While this may not be an issue during the summer, it’s crucial to carry warm blankets and clothing during the winter while driving in areas prone to cold weather. Many of the deaths associated with blizzards and other severe winter weather are related to motorists becoming trapped in their automobiles and succumbing to the cold. Warm blankets and clothing make it possible to survive for many days in a stranded car if necessary.