Provided by Prince William Fire & Rescue
The official start of winter is next week. A wetter winter than usual is predicted for the mid-Atlantic area. Make sure you’re prepared at home and on the road by taking the necessary precautions to stay safe and warm during the winter season.
Winterize Your Home
- Furnace and Heating Ducts: Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean and inspect the heating ducts. Replace the furnace filter throughout the winter.
- Ceiling Fans: Reverse ceiling fans to rotate clockwise allowing the fan to push warm air down and
recirculate throughout the room.
- Drafts/Air Leaks: Drafts can waste up to 30% of your energy use. Place draft guards or rolled up towels across the bottom of doors, Add weather-resistant caulk or weather-stripping tape
around windows where there are holes, cracks and open seams.
- Window Insulation: Place window insulation film on your windows to increase your home’s energy
efficiency by 70%.
- Air Conditioning Unit: Drain any pipes and hoses coming from your air conditioner and cover the unit.
- Fiberglass Insulation: Add fiberglass insulation in your attic, around basement doors, windows in unused rooms and window AC units.
- Wrap your Pipes: Insulating pipes reduces heat loss, raises hot water temperatures and prevents pipes from freezing.
- Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Perform monthly checks on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries when needed.
- Lower the Thermostat: Lower your energy bill by setting your thermostat to 68 degrees and dress in layers of warm clothing.
- Add a Chimney Balloon: A chimney balloon can save you up to 30% on utility bills. The balloon reduces the downdraft and keeps rodents and insects out.
- Trim Trees: Trim any nearby trees to prevent ice and snow build-up that could damage property.
- Clean your Gutters: Clogged gutters can lead to the formation of water and ice that can seep into your house. Clean out gutters so water can drain freely.
- Prepare an Emergency Kit: Build your emergency kit that will sustain you and your family for at least three days/72 hours. Build a Kit 
Winterize Your Car
- Battery and Charging System, Cables, Terminals, Drive Belts and Engine Hoses: Have a certified technician check these items to prevent the risk of breaking down.
- Tire Type and Tread: All-season tires work best in light to moderate snow conditions. Snow tires on all four wheels are the best for winter traction. Tires should have 3/32 inches of tread; anything less should be replaced.
- Tire Pressure: Check tire pressure frequently during winter months. As the temperature drops, so will the pressures in the tires, so refill as needed.
- Air Filter: Check the engine’s air filter. If you can see through much of the filter, it’s still clean. If not,
it’s blocked, and needs replaced.
- Coolant levels: Ask your technician what antifreeze should be used for your vehicle and the appropriate coolant to water ratio to prevent against corrosion and potential freezing.
- Lights: Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake
lights and backup lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
- Wiper Blades: Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. Consider installing winter wipers to
prevent ice and snow buildup on the windshield.
- Washer Fluid: Fill the windshield washer reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze
components for cold weather use.
- Brakes: Have your brakes inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good
- Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids: Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.
Winter Driving Survival Kit
- Flashlight with fresh batteries
- Booster Cables
- Ice scraper
- Small bag of abrasive material, such as sand or cat litter
- Cloth or a roll of paper towels
- Small shovel
- Cell phone
- Can of de-icer
- Warning device, such as flares or reflective triangle
- Basic Emergency Kit Supplies
Winter Driving Safety Tips
- Leave earlier for your destination.
- Use main roads or arteries whenever possible.
- Use your knowledge of the area to your advantage.
- Expect traffic to travel at a slower pace.
Stay informed about emergency alerts and important information by signing up for PWC Alerts, and
keeping a NOAA weather radio handy for updates. For information about Prince William County
government, go to the emergency information portal.