Ice damming, frozen car doors, drafty windows: Easy tips to keep your house and car running during extreme winter weather

Chicago Scene

Winter in the Chicago area is always a wild ride. And the past few weeks, the snow, cold and wind have not seem to let up much at all.

So how can you keep your home safe and your car running during the wild winter weather?

Joe Gillman owns H & B True Value on Chicago’s North Side. He offered some good advice, easy tips and reminders to help you navigate the extreme temperatures and heavy amounts of snow.

Protect the Pipes

Insulating your pipes, especially the pipes closest to the exterior walls, with foam or electric solutions. Foam insulation are an inexpensive way to cover over your existing pipes.  The foam covers can fit various types of pipe, from copper to galvanized. 

If you can’t get insulation on your pipes, leave a small trickle of water running on both hot and cold to keep water moving.

Check Furnace Filters

We’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Check your furnace filters! They can lock up a furnace and it won’t turn on until the dirty filter is replaced or removed.

If you don’t have a spare, you can run for a few days until you have one.

Find and fix drafty windows

Window insulation kits of all sizes and brands are helpful to cut down on the unwanted cold drafts.  Gillman recommends a product called “Mortite.”  It’s like a putty. Gillman said you can lay it in the crack of the windows and you’ll see a noticeable difference. It’s relatively inexpensive solution.

Remove Ice Dams

Gillman suggests using a stocking and filling it with the appropriate ice melt, not salt. Carefully place the filled stocking up near the gutter and it will slowly melt the ice.  Gillman says there are not many options to remove the ice up on a roof and strongly advises to use caution and do not approach the roof or gutter or a ladder in bad weather.

Keep Different Kinds of Shovels Handy

Gillman says to keep shovels in convenient areas – by the back door, front door and in the garage. If you’re trying to break up ice, think beyond the snow shovel. Try a square metal shovel. It will have a bigger effect trying to break up the ice.

Have fun where you can

It’s not all work, you can always do the shoveling later and take the kids outside sledding.  They have various models in stock.

For The Car

Shovels:
Buy a small shovel and keep it in your car to help you get out of a parking spot.  Remember, just because you shoveled yourself out doesn’t mean a plow won’t come by and push snow back in your path.

Lock De-Icer:
With the extreme temperatures, vehicle locks will freeze under the right conditions, especially if you park in a garage at home but leave your car in an uncovered parking spot all day. Lock De Icy can be a handy fix.

Hand Warmers:
Hand warmers can come in real handy, pardon the pun, if you’re working outside trying to shovel or get your car doors de-iced and you don’t have any gloves.

Filmed on location H & B True Value in Jefferson Park, 5329 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60630, 773-631-5966

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