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Winterizing homes, vehicles reduces repair costs

Sun Advocate reporter

Officials from the US Department of Energy recommend leaving the thermostat at 68 degrees for optimal energy and cost savings this winter.

Winterizing homes, automobiles and recreational vehicles before temperatures drop can save Carbon County residents money.

"While most insurance companies will cover the cost of broken water lines in your RV, it is better to do a little preventative maintenance rather than filing a claim," pointed out local Farm Bureau agent Elaine Wood.

According to, people should not leave any water in recreational vehicle storage tanks when the temperatures may dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

To store and protect recreational vehicles from damages associated with winter weather conditions, residents should:

•Make sure to park the RV on a level surface.

•Make sure to winterize the chassis and generator as outlined in the owner's manual.

•Close all drapes and curtains and protect curtains from sun fading by placing foil paper between the windows and the screen.

•Make sure all windows, doors and vents are closed securely.

People should cover exterior vents on appliances to prevent moisture and insects from entering recreational vehicles during storage.

•Check the interior of the RV periodically while in storage to make sure leaks have not developed or condensation formed that can cause damage to interior components.

Condensation can most readily be observed as moisture accumulation on windows and mirrors.

To reduce condensation, people should air the RV out occasionally during storage.

•Be sure that the battery has the proper electrolyte level and that it is fully charged.

A discharged battery will freeze and crack its case, ruining the battery.

In storage, a battery will gradually lose charge within a 30 to 45 day period even when disconnected.

The site recommended that batteries be checked at least monthly under the circumstances that they will be left in freezing conditions.

•The primary concern when winterizing an RV is to make sure the water storage systems are protected against damage caused by freezing.

Residents should start by draining the waste water tanks and then turn off the water pump switch.

Next, all faucets should be opened and the water heater should be drained.

People should also open low point drains in the water lines. The fresh water tank and all low points should be drained. The site recommends finishing by filling the fresh water tank with winterizing solution and pumping it through the system.

"Winterizing your home and vehicle can also be a very effective way to eliminate claims and save money," noted Wood.

According to the United States Department of Energy, the easiest way to reduce consumption in the home is to lower the thermostat. DOE indicates that a daytime setting of 66 to 68 degrees is optimal for energy and cost savings. For every degree the thermostat is lowered, energy bills can be decreased by 5 percent.

However, energy officials caution that lowering the thermostat in a drafty house will do do very little or absolutely no good.

The federal energy department recommends that Carbon County residents conduct a do-it-yourself efficiency audit on homes, armed with a caulking gun and weather stripping.

According to the energy department, a water heater can also represent a major source of lost dollars.

The federal agency recommends wrapping the heater in an insulation blanket and keeping the water temperature thermostat set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

For more permanent solutions, DOE indicates that there are several tax credits available to Carbon County residents who purchase energy efficient appliances and windows.

The credit is designed to make longterm energy conservation more cost efficient to consumers nationwide.

Winterizing automobiles or pickup trucks is something different, as the motor vehicles are taken out and used in the harshest of cold weather conditions, as reported by the National Highway Safety Administration.

More than cost saving suggestions, the administration stressed making vehicles as safe as possible during the winter months.

Federal traffic officials recommend stocking the trunk or storage cabin with blankets, gloves, scarves, chemical hand warmers and items people can use to keep warm in case of a break down in a remote area.

Non-perishable food items are also recommended for winter travelers.

Inspecting the tread on tires and considering the purchase of wheels with a winter tread pattern is also a helpful safety standard, according to NHSA.

A winter checklist provided by the traffic administration emphasizes the importance of:

•Carrying a shovel and ice melting agent.

•Plugging in ones car to keep the engine block warm.

•Checking all vehicle fluids on a regular basis.

Cold weather has a damaging effect on many liquid.

•Weighing down the backend of a rear wheel drive vehicle.

As a final winter warning, the federal traffic safety administration cautions local motorists that excessive speed accounts for a majority of winter accidents.

According to the federal agency's website ,matching driving speed with the conditions is vital to safe winter driving.

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