As a home loan company with offices in both Arizona and Illinois, we have a good handle on climate extremes. We definitely understand that moving from a warmer climate to one that has real winters, can be a shock to the system for the unprepared. The following tips can help you be prepared for your first real taste of winter so that you’ll look like an old pro – and come through your first winter with flying colors.

Ready Your Car for Winter

Winter roads can be quite hazardous for inexperienced winter drivers who are caught unaware. For example, you’ll need to change your washer fluid to one that includes antifreeze. You’ll also want to switch to winter (or at the very least all-weather) tires. And, you should consider equipping your car with a winter safety kit that includes cat litter for traction, a snow shovel, flares, window scrapers, blankets, and energy bars and non-perishable snacks for emergencies that leave you caught in traffic.

Learn to Winterize Your Home

One thing that people from the south may not have dealt with in the past are cold air returns. It’s important to make sure they aren’t blocked. This helps your furnace operate with maximum efficiency. Learn about your damper if you have a fireplace, and keep it closed when you’re not using your fireplace. Wrap all outside pipes to prevent them from freezing. Consider an energy audit for your home to find out about changes you can make to reduce your heating costs.

Prepare to Adjust Your Wardrobe

Learn to layer everything and embrace hats of all shapes and sizes. Hats are critical warmth in winter as they help keep warmth from escaping your body through your head. Layering allows you to change your core temperature without adjusting the thermostat every time you catch a chill. It also makes it more comfortable to navigate around different buildings (such as when you’re shopping) that have different temperature settings without becoming overheated or getting chilled.

Winters are beautiful – especially for people who are accustomed to a more consistent year round climate. As your home loan company, we at Starboard Financial want to make sure you’re prepared for the worst Mother Nature has to throw your way. These tips will get you off to a great start.