Winter Ready

Leaving your car unattended to warm up is not only making it an easy target for thieves, according to Popular Mechanics, warming up your car in the cold harms the engine because it strips the oil away from the engine’s cylinders and pistons.

Wind-chill temperature is only defined for temperatures at or below 50°F and wind speeds above 3 mph. Bright sunshine may increase the wind-chill temperature by 10°F to 18°F.

Bring your pets indoors during winter

What winter storm warning terms mean:

  • Winter Weather Advisory: Expect winter weather condition (e.g., accumulation of snow, freezing rain, and sleet) that could cause severe inconvenience and life-threatening hazards.
  • Frost/Freeze Warning: Expect below-freezing temperatures.
  • Winter Storm Watch: Be alert; a storm is likely.
  • Winter Storm Warning: Take action; the storm is in or entering the area.
  • Blizzard Warning: Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snowdrifts, and life-threatening wind chill.

windchill-noaa

If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one in the yellow pages of your telephone directory under “chimney cleaning.”

Also, if you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.

Prevent freezing of water lines and pipes

When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

beready_winter

Heating Checklist

Turning on the stove for heat is not safe; have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:

  • Extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats
  • Fireplace with plenty of dry firewood or a gas log fireplace
  • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters
  • Check with your local fire department to make sure that kerosene heaters are legal in your area.
  • Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.

Invest in a carbon monoxide detector (Check prior to winter storm season and change batteries, if needed.)

  • Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet.
  • Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
  • Use individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords to plug in other appliances.
  • Have chimney and flue inspected.

Prepare your Car for winter

Keep your car fueled and in good working order. Be sure to check the following:

  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield wiper fluid (wintertime mixture)
  • Heater
  • Defroster
  • Brakes
  • Brake fluid
  • Ignition
  • Emergency flashers
  • Exhaust
  • Tires (air pressure and wear)
  • Fuel
  • Oil
  • Battery
  • Radiator

Know this…

Leaving your car unattended to warm up is not only making it an easy target for thieves, according to Popular Mechanics, warming up your car in the cold harms the engine because it strips the oil away from the engine’s cylinders and pistons.

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