Winter is coming soon

Some Lassen County residents got their first glimpse of the cold weather to come this week as a thin layer of frost sparkled on roofs or blocked the view through their windshields late last week. Fall is here — the high schools are playing football and Halloween decorations are already up in stores. Now is the time for us to begin our winter preparations.

Make sure you winterize your vehicle — including replacing and refilling all your fluids, inspecting or replacing your tires (or getting snow tires) and checking that your battery and belts are ready for the cold weather. You can find information on many garages and mechanics in this issue of the newspaper.

In Northeastern California it’s also a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car, including a flashlight, a blanket, leather gloves and hat, an ice scraper, some bottled water and a few snacks in case you break down or get stranded on the road in inclement weather.

But don’t stop with your car — it’s time to get your house ready for winter, too. Don’t forget to empty your rain barrels, clean your gutters, check your snow blower (if you have one), check your home for leaks and drafts, clean or replace your furnace filter, insulate pipes and your hot water heater, add insulation if needed and perhaps most important, get your chimney or flue cleaned. In addition to saving energy and increasing efficiency, an annual cleanup can help ensure your family’s safety. Chimney fires are one of the season’s biggest hazards and a build up of deposits or animals nesting in your chimney create a danger no one wants to face.

It’s much easier to take care of these chores now before the chilly winds of November and December start blowing.