CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With the temperature expected to drop below zero later this week for the first time in over a year, it’s important to make sure your home and vehicle are ready and can withstand freezing temps in the negative double digits. Water expands as it freezes and can put tremendous pressure on pipes, causing them to burst, especially those that run against exterior walls with little to no insulation.
“You can use things like heat tape, in addition to, or in place of insulating those pipes to prevent that from happening,” explained Rob McDonnell, owner of Robinson Ace Hardware in Clifton Park.
Drafty doors and windows might become much more of a pressing issue in the ultra-cold temps. McDonnell recommends insulation kits that come in various sizes. “This would be something you put on the inside of your windows, for windows that may be older, or don’t have proper insulation in them,” he said.
For an especially cold area of your home, a space heater can help. “Most every [electric] heater you find now will have a tip-over safety, so if they get tipped over or they run for an extended period of time, it’ll have an automatic shut-off time on them,” McDonnell added.
Speaking of safety, now’s a good time to check those alarms. “It’s very important to make sure, no matter what, you always have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home,” McDonnell said, and also pointed out that you can buy detectors with 10-year batteries.
In addition to getting your home ready, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some advice for preparing your car. When the temperature drops, so does the battery power. Gas and diesel engines use more battery juice when it’s cold outside, so have a mechanic check it if possible. It’s also important to make sure you keep your gas tank as full as possible.
The NHTSA also advises parents as they bundle up their kids in cold weather gear, heavy coats can interfere with the proper harness fit on a child in a car seat. They advise picking thin, warm layers and placing blankets or coats around your child after the harness is snug and secure for extra warmth.