Winterize Your Home

Prepare Now for the Winter Months Ahead

Once again here in the Midwest, old man winter is upon us. Public Health Solutions District Health Department would like to take this opportunity to provide some pertinent information to help you better prepare for the upcoming winter season.

Below are collective lists provided through recommendations from FEMA and other various government agencies for your use. For further information on emergency preparedness, feel free to call Emergency Response Coordinator/Environmental, Dave Wieting at (402) 826-6688.

Winterize Your Home

  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
  • Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves(in case a pipe bursts).
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

Winterize Your Vehicle

Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:

  • Antifreeze levels– ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  • Battery and ignition system– should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
  • Brakes– check for wear and fluid levels.
  • Exhaust system– check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
  • Fuel and air filters– replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Heater and defroster– ensure they work properly.
  • Lights and flashing hazard lights– check for serviceability.
  • Oil– check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
  • Thermostat– ensure it works properly.
  • Windshield wiper equipment– repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
  • Install good winter tires– Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.

Update the emergency kits in your vehicles with:

  • a shovel
  • windshield scraper and small broom
  • flashlight
  • battery powered radio
  • extra batteries
  • water
  • snack food
  • matches
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • first aid kit with pocket knife
  • necessary medications
  • blanket(s)
  • tow chain or rope
  • road salt and sand
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares
  • fluorescent distress flag