GREENSBORO, N.C. - It's no surprise. It's cold outside.
If you weren't prepared for the quick drop in temperature, you might want to get ready now.
There's several things for you to keep in mind during the winter months, from winterizing your home to protecting your pets.
Here's a few tips to help you survive the cold and harsh winter.
How to safely keep warm during the winter months:
As the temperature drops, you might try to come up with some creative ways to stay warm.
Safety should always come first.
Fire officials say it's a bad idea to use your oven to warm up the house.
It could cause several issues, like a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Someone could also get hurt or burned.
The energy used could also run up your power bill.
A space heater is another fire hazard if you do not use it properly.
Fire officials say you should keep portable space heaters on a level surface, clear of debris, and at least 3ft away from items or surfaces.
You should always turn the heater off when leaving the room or going to bed.
How to winterize your home:
It's time to prepare your home for winter weather.
If not, it could cost you big time.
You should protect your pipes from freezing to prevent water damage.
You can easily protect your pipes by turning on the heater to keep the pipes warm.
Plumbers suggest keeping the heat above 50 degrees.
You can also let the faucet drip slightly.
Weatherstripping is another way to protect your home during the winter.
It's the process of sealing gaps near doors or windows.
You can block the cold from entering your home by rolling up a towel and placing it near a door or window.
Be sure to always check and clean your fireplace before use.
How to prepare your HVAC system for the cold:
Don't forget to check your HVAC system in the winter.
The last time you probably used your HVAC system was to keep the house cool a few months ago.
Now, you want the heating system to warm you up.
The first thing you might want to do is check the air filter.
HVAC experts say you should change the air filters about every 3 months.
You should also clean and vacuum the air vents to prevent clogging and dust build up.
HVAC experts say adding insulation or upgrading to a programmable thermostat is another way to make sure your heating system is working just right for you.
If you choose to add insulation or upgrade, you should speak with an HVAC professional.
How to protect your pets in the winter:
You don't want to forget about your pet during the winter months.
You should always bring your pet inside and out of the cold.
If it's too cold for you, it's probably too cold for your pet.
You want your pet to have plenty of water to drink, but make sure the water is not frozen.
If you plan on taking your pet outside, make sure your pet is dressed for the weather.
Dogs with short hair should wear a warm sweater.
You should never shave your pet's hair down to the skin when it's cold outside.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, exposed skin on noses, ears, and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hyperthermia during the extreme cold snaps.
For grooming purposes, however, it's okay to slightly trim your pets hair.