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Residential Propane

Preparing for Winter: Your Ultimate Guide to Staying Healthy and Safe

winter preparations truck
As the days grow shorter and the temperatures begin to drop, it's that time of the year again when we need to start preparing for winter! The transition from fall to winter brings us beautiful snowscapes and the joys of the holiday season. However, it also brings its fair share of challenges, from frigid temperatures to unpredictable weather storms. Making sure your home is ready for the winter is not just about comfort… it's about safety, health, and peace of mind. 

This guide from Pinnacle Propane will offer some practical tips for winter preparedness so you can enjoy a comfortable winter at home. You’ll also discover valuable insights into why propane is an excellent choice for your winter heating needs! 

Winter-Proofing Your Home

Winterizing your home isn't just about staying cozy during the colder months; it's about protecting your investment, ensuring the well-being of your loved ones, and making the most out of the season. Neglecting the necessary preparations can lead to energy wastage, costly repairs, and even health risks due to exposure to cold temperatures or inefficient heating systems. 

  • Be sure to check for drafts around windows and doors and seal any gaps. This will prevent heat loss and reduce your energy bills, too!  
  • Scheduling a professional inspection and maintenance for your heating system will ensure it operates efficiently.  
  • If you have a fireplace, have it cleaned and inspected, and check that the damper is functioning correctly

Safety Tips During Winter

Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to protect against this silent killer that can result from heating systems. Also, assemble an emergency kit with essentials like flashlights, batteries, blankets, non-perishable food, water, and a first-aid kit. While you always hope you won’t need it, it’s always better to be prepared. Include a battery-operated or hand-crank radio for weather updates and keep a supply of necessary medications and important documents in a waterproof container. If you’re using propane heaters, be sure they’re properly ventilated and follow all safety guidelines. Remember, propane is a very safe energy source when handled correctly! 

Winter safety tips infographic

Outdoor Safety

Winter storms encompass a range of severe weather, including snow, sleet, and freezing rain. You can protect your family by staying informed, having essential supplies on hand, and creating an emergency communication plan. 

  • Trim branches that could fall on your home during heavy snow or ice, and have your gutters cleaned. If you have overhanging trees or a flat roof, consider hiring professionals to remove excess snow to prevent ice dams and potential roof damage. Ensure proper drainage away from your driveway to prevent water from refreezing on the surface, and store any outdoor furniture and garden tools securely. 
  • Invest in a propane generator as a reliable backup power source and be sure it’s properly maintained and fueled, so it's ready when you need it! 
  • Take care of yourself when you have to be outdoors. Stay informed about weather forecasts and road conditions. If a blizzard or ice storm is expected, avoid traveling unless absolutely necessary. Across the US, winter roads contribute to over 135,000 injuries each year! 
  • Dress in layers to stay warm and protect any exposed skin from frostbite by wearing hats, gloves, and scarves. Did you know it only takes about 30 minutes for exposed skin to get frostbite when the temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit or less? The first signs of frostbite are numbness, tingling, and pale skin. If frostbite does occur, seek medical attention immediately and warm the affected area gradually. Be careful when walking on icy sidewalks and driveways. 

Vehicle Safety

Taking care of your vehicle is extra important during the winter months.  

  • Consider switching to winter tires, which provide better traction on snow and ice. Even if you can’t switch, make sure the ones you have are properly inflated with sufficient tread. 
  • Check your vehicle's antifreeze levels and so that all fluids (such as windshield washer fluid) are appropriate for cold weather. You will need your windshield wipers and defrosters to be in excellent condition and working effectively to maintain visibility while driving. 
  • Remember that cold weather can be tough on batteries, too. Have your battery tested so you know it’s in good condition and keep jumper cables in your vehicle just in case.
  • Another important tip is to maintain at least a half-tank of gas during the winter. This prevents fuel lines from freezing and provides a safety buffer in case of delays or emergencies. 
  • Again, an emergency kit is essential. Be sure to have one in your vehicle, including items like a flashlight, blankets, gloves, extra warm clothing, non-perishable snacks, and a shovel. 

Driveway Care During Winter Storms

In the United States, the medical costs for winter slips and falls add up to about $50 billion per year. If you can’t invest in snow removal equipment like a snow blower or a good-quality snow shovel, stock up on salt, sand, or other deicing agents to prevent ice buildup on your driveway and walkways. After a snowfall, promptly remove snow from your driveway to prevent it from becoming packed and turning into ice. Be sure to take care of your back when shoveling snow. Use proper lifting techniques to avoid any strains. Take breaks as needed and don't overexert yourself.  Heated driveways are wonderful if you have them. Otherwise, simply sprinkling salt or sand on icy areas will help with traction for added safety. If you are expecting heavy snow, use reflective markers or stakes to mark the edges of your driveway. 

How to Stay Healthy Throughout the Winter

Staying healthy throughout the winter is essential, as the cold season often increases the risk of illnesses. In addition to the tips below, remember to keep an eye on your mental well-being, too! Maintain social connections, even if virtually, to combat feelings of isolation, which can be common during the winter months. 

  • Stay active, and don't let the cold weather deter you from exercising! Indoor workouts, yoga, or even a brisk winter walk can boost your mood and immune system. Maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and immune-boosting foods, and stay hydrated to fend off illness. Many people don’t realize that cold air can reduce thirst sensation - leading to chronic dehydration. 
  • Never underestimate the power of sleep! Getting enough rest is crucial for a strong immune system! Frequent handwashing will also help prevent the spread of germs, especially during flu season. While we’re on that topic, consider getting a flu shot to reduce your risk of flu-related illnesses. 

Why propane infographic

Propane as a Reliable Winter Energy Source

Maintaining a warm home with a propane heating system ensures your family stays comfortable and healthy during the winter. Propane is a versatile and dependable energy source, especially during winter. It's a clean-burning fuel that can power various household appliances, from heating systems and water heaters to stoves and fireplaces. Propane also offers consistent, efficient heating that keeps your home warm despite unexpected outages! 

Propane tanks are designed to withstand the harshest winter conditions, making them a reliable choice for energy storage. Unlike other fuel sources, propane won't freeze in your tank, so you always have access to warmth when needed. It's a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option that can help reduce your carbon footprint while keeping your home comfortable. 

Propane offers several advantages for winter use:

  • Consistent Heat: Propane furnaces provide consistent and efficient heat, even in the coldest temperatures.
  • Backup power: Propane generators can keep your home running during power outages.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Propane is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions when compared to other energy sources.
  • Versatility: Propane can power various appliances, including water heaters, stoves, and generators, making it an all-in-one energy solution.
  • Cost-Efficient: Propane is often more cost-effective than electricity or heating oil, allowing you to save on energy bills. 

How to prepare your propane tank for winter

If you already use propane as your energy source, now is the time to get ready for winter! Keep the tank area clear of snow and ice and insulate the tank with a propane tank cover. Schedule an inspection to check for any leaks, and order propane refills before you run out to avoid being left without heat. 

Winter preparedness is essential for your safety and well-being. You can ensure a warm, healthy, and secure winter season by winter-proofing your home, following safety precautions, prioritizing health, and considering propane as your winter energy source. At Pinnacle Propane, we understand the importance of a warm, safe, and cozy winter season. We would love to help you confidently embrace winter's beauty this year. Contact us today!