Ready 4 Winter: 12 Ways to Get Your Home, Garden and Car Ready for Winter

It's that time of year. The cold weather is setting in fast, but there's still plenty of time to get ready for winter. Here are 12 ways you can get your home, garden and car ready for the colder months.

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If you're going away for an extended period of time, be sure to maintain adequate heat inside your home at no lower than 55 degrees.
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Never use your oven or range top to heat your home. Leaving burner flames on and unmonitored is a fire hazard and can use up indoor oxygen, leading to production of deadly CO.
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Change or clean furnace and air filters once a month and get an annual furnace or boiler check-up by a licensed professional.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends CO detectors outside each bedroom of your home and smoke alarms on each level and inside every bedroom. Check batteries monthly and replace them at least twice a year.
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Rake up dead leaves in your yard. Dead leaves can block sunlight, turning your lawn brown.
Plant pansies, cabbage and kale now. All three plants are perfect for winter and can add some color to your winter lawn.
Plant your spring bulbs now, and enjoy them later! This is the time to get your bulbs in the ground.
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Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
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Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid freezing your car's gas lines.
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If your car battery is three years old or older, it is more likely to fail as temperatures drops, according to AAA. Never attempt to charge or jump-start a battery that's frozen -- it may rupture or explode.
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Make certain your tires are properly inflated. Cold weather will often reduce tire pressure.
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Keep your washer fluid topped off with winter formula fluid so it won't freeze. Many of your car's fluids should be checked once a month.
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Bonus Tip! Program your local utility contact information into your cell phone now, before you need them. Important Utility Numbers include:n-- Dominion Virginia: 1-866-366-4357n-- Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123 -- Pepco: 1-877-737-2662 -- SMECO: 1-877-747-6326 or 1-888-440-3311n-- Washington Gas: 1-800-752-7520 -- Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC): 1-800-828-4002
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