Feel free, if you like, to look on all this cold weather as a nuisance, or worse. You could not get your car door open. The metor would not start. A pipe froze in your house. Your heating bill is way up.
But there are a few things you can do to make winter less of a hassle and less expensive.
Starting with the car. Before trying to start the engine, turn the headlights on for no more than 30 seconds. Turn them off. Make sure all other accessories (radio, heater, etc.) are off. Turning the headlights on briefly draws current from the battery, but also warms it, making the battery more efficient.
Push the gas pedal down to the floor, all the way down, once or twice to prime the carburetor and set the automatic choke. Take you foot off the gas pedal and leave it off. Turn the ignition on and the car should start.
Battery -- Make sure the water in the battery does not get too low. Check the water level whenever you get gas.Twice a year, battery cables should be removed from battery posts and all corrosion should be cleaned from both posts and cables. Baking soda can be used to clean them and cold water to rinse them. Cleaning the cables and posts will help the battery to operate at its most efficient level. Put grease or petroleum jelly over the posts after reconnecting the cables to prevent corrosion build-up.
Fan Belt -- Check to see if its cracked or frayed and replace it if it is. A worn fan belt can mean an undercharged battery or no fan belt at all at an inconvenient moment. If the fan belt goes, the car won't run long without it.
Radiator -- Check the hoses on the cooling system. If they're cracked or soft to the touch replace them before they break. The radiator should be flushed once a year to get dirt and rust out of the cooling system. Antifreeze should be checked to make sure there's enough to prevent freezing of the cooling system. Permanent antifreeze, despite the name, doesn't last forever. After a year or so it may lose its properties and should be changed.
Engine -- if your car is running ragged,, it is probably a good idea to get a tune-up. Cold weather starting is hard enough for a car that is running well. The spark plugs, points, condenser and perhaps even the ignition wires should be changed, carburetion and timing checked.
Oil should be changed at least every 10,000 miles but ideally every 3,000. Once the car has started, let the engine idle for two or three minutes before moving to warm the oil in the crankcase and properly lubricate engine parts. Use a multigrade oil in cold weather -- 10W40 to 5W40. But don't idle the engine too long since excessive idling can overheat the engine and increase wear. Tap the accelerator a minute or so after starting. If the engine idles more slowly, it's ready to go. If not, give it a another minute or so.
Windshield wipers -- In wet, freezing weather or insnow, make sure the sindshield wipers are not forzen to the windshield before turning them on. If they're stuck, turning them on can damage or destroy the mechanism that operates them.
A word or two about the house:
Lighting the fireplace may give a cozy feeling, but it can mean as much as a 20 percent heat loss. Most of the hot air goes up the chimney and it eventually gets replaced by cold air from outside. If you have to have a fire, think about installing glass doors on the fireplace. And when the fire is out, make sure the damper is closed.
Water pipes next to uninsulated exterior walls may freeze. Some prsons recommend letting a faucet run very slowly so that water will not stand in the pipes. But beware. If the drain is next to an exterior wall, it may freeze instead and then back up. Electrical tape can be purchased to wrap around exposed pipes to keep them warm during especially cold weather. If your kitchen sink is next to an exterior wall, open the cabinet doors underneath so warm air can get to the pipes.
And look at the bright side. Spring is only 11 weeks away.