6 Tips for Winterizing Your Car

However difficult it might be to believe, it’s already November! That means winter driving conditions will soon be upon us. If you haven’t done it already, there is still time to make sure your vehicle is well-equipped for whatever Mother Nature has in store for us this year. Winter driving can be challenging. Here are a few safety tips to help reduce some of that stress:

Check your battery. Before it gets too cold outside, consider having a mechanic inspect your battery to make sure it is strong enough for the winter. This is important because your car’s battery can be severely weakened by the cold. Aside from the battery itself, your mechanic should also check the charging system, cables, terminals, fluid and belts.

Keep your engine oiled up. As the seasons and temperatures change, the temperature inside your car’s engine also changes. Accordingly, your engine requires different types of oil to account for these changes. During the winter months, because of the cold temperatures, thinner oil is better for your engine. Consult your owner’s manual for exact details.

Watch that gas tank. Be sure to keep your gas levels above half a tank. This is important for two reasons. One reason is that it will prevent your fuel line from freezing. The other is that, in the event you find yourself stranded for an extended length of time, you will be able to keep yourself warm by running the engine.

Make sure your tires are ready to go. Getting your tires checked before the winter weather hits is very important. If you have seasonal tires on your car, they will have to be switched to the heavier winter tires. Naturally, the benefit of having all-season tires is that they will not need to be changed if they are in good condition.

Protect your windshield. Keeping your windshield clear for safe driving requires paying close attention to a few simple details. Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and work efficiently. Also, be sure not to neglect the wipers on the rear windshield. When it comes to windshield wiper fluid, choose one with an antifreeze solution.

Store an emergency kit in your car. Keeping basic safety supplies in the trunk of your car is sure to come in handy in case you find yourself stuck our stranded in the winter cold. Here are some valuable items to include in your car’s emergency kit:

  • Flashlight
  • Flares
  • Blanket
  • Boots
  • Radio

Although winter seems to be approaching faster than ever, don’t let it catch you off guard! By following these tips, you can prepare your car for safe driving all winter long.

Do you have additional tips for getting vehicles ready for the winter? Please share in the comments below!

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Stay Fit This Fall

The arrival of fall doesn’t mean you have to give up exercising and do away with all the progress you made over the summer. Outdoor exercise in the fall can be even more enjoyable than in the summer months. Here are some tips to help you enjoy a safe and productive fall season of fitness.

Focus on safety. In the fall, the sun rises later and sets earlier. These shorter days make exercising outside a little trickier in terms of safety. If you find that your regular workout time has suddenly left you in the dark, be sure to wear reflective clothing so passing vehicles can see you. If you are running or walking, bring a flashlight or wear a headlamp. When riding a bike, consider outfitting it with reflectors, a headlight and a taillight. Also, pick a route you are familiar with.

Dress accordingly. One benefit of working out in the fall is the absence of the grueling summer heat. However, the change in weather does warrant more preparation for your outdoor workouts. Remember to wear layers of clothing that protect you from the wind and the cold.

Remember to enjoy the scenery. While working hard to achieve your fitness goals this fall, don’t forget to take in the extraordinary beauty around you. After all, the colorful foliage of autumn is a short-lived delight! You might even consider varying your usual routine to explore nearby parks or mountain trails where the changes in leaves are more prevalent. Other characteristically fall activities like apple picking, pumpkin picking, visiting a haunted corn maze and raking leaves are also fun alternatives.

Continue to drink plenty of water. Even though the heat of summer has given way to the cooler temperatures of fall, staying hydrated is just as important. Remember that hydration helps your body recover from your workouts. Although you may not feel as thirsty in the cooler weather, your body still needs those fluids.

Explore new activities. Autumn is a season of change, perhaps it’s time to bring on some change of your own. This fall might be the perfect occasion to give a brand new activity a try. Depending on your interests, you might consider tap dancing, spinning, fencing, boxing or yoga.

As the summer sun fades, safely discover all the exciting and new opportunities that the fall has to offer! As always, make sure to talk with your doctor before you begin any intense physical regime. Do you have any fall fitness tips? Please share below!

Fall Home Maintenance

Even though summer temperatures are still blazing, those winter chills will soon be on their way. Now is the time to start thinking about fall home maintenance. Here is a list of some minor tasks you can perform around the house to prevent any expensive mishaps and unwanted dangers in the coming winter.

Put away garden hoses and disable sprinklers. To prevent costly damages from early freeze snaps in the beginning of the fall, make sure your garden hoses are removed from all outdoor faucets and make sure there is no residual water. Any remaining water can freeze and crack faucets and pipes. Drain and store hoses indoors for the winter. If you have a sprinkler system, turn off the main valve to cut off the water and open the drain valves to let the water flow out. Remember to empty all sprinkler heads of any water.

Seal cracks. Sealing cracks is a simple and inexpensive way to avoid high heating costs. Simply inspect the exterior of your home for cracks in the foundation, in the areas around windows and doors and near spots where wires and pipes enter the house. If cracks are found in these areas, use caulk to fill them.

Check your roof and clear the gutters. To inspect your roof safely, consider contacting a certified professional. Some telltale signs of damage that you can spot from the ground include rusted flashing and shingles that are missing, warped or cracked. Gutters should be cleared of leaves and other debris. Sagging gutters are a safety hazard and might be a result of water being trapped. Damaged gutters should be replaced.

Get your furnace ready. Be sure to get your furnace inspected by a licensed professional. Furnace filters should be replaced every two months. If your furnace is performing poorly or unpredictably, it is likely time for an inspection.

Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a good time to make sure all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your house are in working order and have fresh batteries so your family is kept safe this winter.

Don’t let the coming weather changes catch you off guard! Follow these simple tips and enjoy the many delights of autumn! Do you have more home maintenance tips? Please share in the comments below!

Stay safe during a thunderstorm

June in Colorado means beautiful sunny days spending time outdoors. But the beautiful weather also comes with a catch, and in the summer months that is the daily afternoon thunderstorm. Whether you’re on the course playing 18, hiking in the mountains, or at your child’s soccer match – thunderstorms can come out of nowhere and dampen your day. Living with this reality, we need to understand the risks associated with thunderstorms and how best to minimize them to maximize our time spent enjoying the outdoors.

Thunderstorms require three ingredients: moisture, unstable and rising air. In the Front Range, as dense cold air moving over the mountains descends and hot air from the plains rises – it creates convection. Convection occurs as warmer air rises and transfers heat to the upper levels of the atmosphere. The water vapor transported by this warmer air cools, and condenses into a cloud. As this process continues, the cloud grows bigger and higher – cumulonimbus clouds can reach up to 75,000 feet in the air. As the water droplets cool they turn into ice. As these ice particles collide they create an electrical charge, and when enough electrical charge forms we get a bolt of lightning.

Thunderstorms present many dangers:

  • Heavy rainfall can cause flash flooding.
  • Sparks from lightning strikes can start forest fires.
  • Hail and heavy wind can cause damage to trees, cars, and structures.
  • Under the right conditions, tornadoes can form and have been known to cause devastating damage.
  • Lightning strikes can kill people.

As Coloradans we spend a lot of time outdoors and we will inevitably be caught in a thunderstorm from time to time. Here are some tips to ensure that you stay safe from the many ways a thunderstorm and lightning can harm you:

Check the forecast. If you are spending anytime outdoors, make sure you check the forecast. If meteorologists are calling for severe weather change your plans. The last thing you want is be stuck on a mountaintop in a thunderstorm, so plan accordingly.

Find shelter. Unprotected and exposed in a thunderstorm is the worst place you can be. Try to take shelter in a building or vehicle. If you are in an open field, find a low-lying area, but be wary of flooding. Also, beware of small metal structures like dugouts and sheds. These structures offer relief from the rain, but are dangerous places to be if stuck by lightning.

If you can hear thunder, you are not safe. Lightning produced by a thunderstorm can reach you as far as 10 miles away. If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning, so take necessary precautions to ensure safety.

Avoid lightning prone areas. Hilltops (summits) and ridge lines, open fields, tall isolated trees, and the beach or any body of water make for attractive targets for lightning strikes. Also avoid natural lighting rods like tall, isolated trees in open areas.

Avoid contact with convection items. Even if you’re indoors, lightning from a thunderstorm can still harm or even kill you. Avoid using indoor plumbing and running water. Also, stay away from electrical outlets and appliances connected to them. Don’t stand near walls, windows, or doors that border outside.

By taking the necessary precautions during a thunderstorm, you will keep yourself and your family safe. Don’t let a little foul weather ruin your outing by staying educated and proactive in your family’s safety.