Tips to Avoid Vehicle, Home Headaches Ahead of Extreme Cold

Temperatures are expected to drop significantly as the weekend approaches, making it cold enough to warrant some preparation for your house and car.

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“Stay home, stay in, stay warm. That’s my thoughts,” said Alice Cody of Terryville. 

Cody’s thoughts make a lot of sense because this weekend, you could say winter has finally arrived.

“People underestimate how cold it is. I think we’ve gotten so used to a certain climate that we’ve had here, said Dr. Anuj Vohra, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. “Now, we’re getting into a pretty severe winter mix.”

That means getting prepared, and coming from Minnesota to now Burlington, Conn., Steven York and his family aren’t just ready – they’re excited.

“We’re used to snow pretty much every day. What’s the worst we saw? -40, -45,” York said.

But you don’t need to experience those numbers to have missed your winter wardrobe.

“This isn’t going to bother me at all. I wish it was for a little bit longer so you could wear your furry stuff,” said Linda Gabriele of Bristol.

Having extra layers is key, especially when out on the road.

“Throw in an extra blanket, a hat, a good pair of gloves and even an extra sweatshirt,” said Tracy Noble from AAA. “That way if something does happen, you’ll be prepared.”

Noble also said now is the time to check your car battery while temperatures are still relatively mild.

“Make sure that the terminals are free of any rust or corrosion and have it tested if you can do so,” she said. “That way, you know that it’s going to start in these frigid temperatures.”

Noble added that if your car is a model from 2007 or newer, you don’t necessarily have to start your vehicle ahead of time to warm up your engine.

Beyond your vehicle, prepping your home for possible sub-zero temps could make all the difference.

“It’s good to have a winterization calendar at your house that you can go through and go through a list of things to make sure you’re ready for the cold winter,” said Bill Fontaine, owner of Fontaine Mechanical.

The Regional Water Authority (RWA) recommends wrapping exposed pipes with insulating material and opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow circulation of warm air as two ways to prevent freezing pipes. As temperatures creep below zero, the RWA also suggests letting cold water drip from your faucets.

“Even if your heating is working, you can still get frozen pipes. Pipes anywhere near an outside wall or pipes in the attic for heating systems that are in the attic,” Fontaine said.

The RWA said if your pipes do freeze, do not try to thaw them with hot water or an open flame. Instead, shut off the water source, and call a plumber to examine the problem.

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