Tips for Controlling Home and Vehicle Expenses In Winter

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

Here comes cooler weather! Winter can be a season fraught with unexpected, weather-related expenses. Taking proactive steps will help you avoid being blindsided with surprise bills and costly repairs. Here are some things to consider when planning for winter around the house and in your vehicle:

Ways to save this winter around the house

Clean out the gutters – This is the time of year when falling leaves can quickly accumulate on your roof and in your gutters. Clogged gutters prevent water from properly draining away from your home. This trapped water can damage your roofing, fascia and soffit, seep into your foundation or leak inside your home. Gutters clogged with debris also make attractive nesting sites for birds and insects which can likewise damage your home.

Clean and tune up your furnace – A dirty furnace is an inefficiently operating furnace. Stock up on replacement furnace filters at the beginning of the season because stores often run out of certain sizes as winter wears on and its inefficient and unsafe to operate your furnace with clogged filters.

There’s more to furnace maintenance than just a thorough cleaning of accumulated dust and regular filter changes. To ensure that your furnace is operating safely and at peak performance, an annual professional tune-up which addresses the following areas is recommended:

  • Vent system
  • Combustion gases
  • Blower access door
  • Fresh air intake grills and louvers
  • Heat exchanger
  • Burners
  • Drainage system
  • Condensate drain and trap
  • Blower wheel
  • Blower motor
  • Wiring

Keep the cold outside – Seal up drafts inside around doors and windows with caulk or weather-stripping. Electrical outlets on exterior walls can let in drafts; use outlet gaskets to seal them up. Apply weatherproof caulk to exterior cracks. Ensure that there’s at least 12” of insulation in your attic.

Ways to save this winter in your vehicle

In addition to keeping you safe on the road, winter vehicle maintenance will help prevent damage that may lead to bigger, costlier problems down the road. Check these areas now and monitor them throughout the winter:

Check under the hood – When engine fluids (oil, transmission and brake fluid) are cold, they don’t lubricate as well, which can lead to engine wear. This makes it even more important to ensure that not only antifreeze but all engine fluid levels are maintained throughout the winter. Additionally, rinse salt from the radiator and check belts and hoses to ensure they’re not experiencing wear and tear from extreme temperatures.

Tire pressure – It’s always important that your tires are maintained to their recommended level of inflation to ensure optimal fuel mileage and tire wear. It’s even more important to monitor your tires’ air pressure in winter because for every 10°F drop in temperature, tire pressure drops 1-2 psi.

Keep it clean outside – Ice-melting salt is devastating to the exterior of your car, causing rust to the body, corrosion to the fuel and brake lines and tire degradation. Help prevent salt from ravaging your vehicle by keeping it meticulously clean. The finish will benefit from thorough waxing throughout the winter. The undercarriage can be sealed professionally or with a do-it-yourself product.

Protect interior fabrics – Using fabric protector can help your vehicle’s carpet withstand salt damage.

Scrape with care – Scraping your car’s finish while removing snow and ice can drag dirt that will scratch the finish. Use your scraper gingerly and try to keep it on the window glass.

There’s a lot we can do to keep winter expenses under control in two places where we spend much of our time.

How do you save at home and in your vehicle in the winter?

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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