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The cooler weather that has set in does not just mean that the holidays are right around the corner, it also signifies that winter is coming. It’s important that all home and car owners are prepared by taking certain steps to stay ahead of winter to ensure you are ready for the coldest of seasons. Prep may include a quick trip to your local auto shop or contacting a heating specialist, but it is all necessary to making sure you are ready for winter.

Check Your Car

One of the most important things to do is make sure your car is prepped for winter roads. There are a number of things you should check including all fluid levels, tire pressure & tread, battery life and that you have a winter emergency kit. While you may not think you would ever be the one person to get stranded in a snowstorm out on the road, you can never be too prepared. Keep a kit including a good warm blanket, boots, gloves, salt (or your favorite alternative), flashlight, snowbrush, ice scraper, water and road flares. Make sure you always have your phone with you in case you do become stranded and you need to contact emergency personnel (but don’t use it while driving!).

Check Around the House

There are many little projects you can complete around the house before winter hits. First you should clean out your gutters while the weather is still favorable. Also, make sure your chimney is clean—no one wants a cloud of soot raining down when they are trying to enjoy a cozy fire. Some other little chores to do around the house include reversing your ceiling fans so they will cycle heat, install your storm windows, empty the remaining gas from your lawn mower, check to make sure your snow blower works if you have one, if you don’t have one invest in one or get some new shovels and drain all of the water out of all your hoses and outside faucets (they will freeze and could break in the winter).

Check Your Heating

No one wants to be left in the cold this winter, which is why you should have your heater serviced ahead of time. If there are any issues, you can then get them fixed without having to freeze your entire family. Contact an experienced heating specialist and schedule an appointment for them to come take a look.

Being prepared before winter settles in will ensure that you have little or no problems with your home or car this winter.

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Chuck Stevens is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @chuckstevens12.