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Tips On Dealing With Cars, Pipes In Cold Weather

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in 2004 as co-host of The KDKA...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Getting stranded in morning rush hour traffic is one thing.

But never getting into traffic in the first place because your battery has given up is frustrating and cold is the worst enemy for the molecules in your battery.

“Those molecules move considerable slower and that’s why the battery gets weak,” said Tim Dietz, owner of Troubleshooters.

“If you have a batter that is old and tired that will put it over the edge and you’ll come out and the car won’t start,” Dietz added.

So getting your battery to make it through tomorrow – consider the old light bulb warmer trick.

“Even a 40 watt bulb will keep that battery from getting to 10 degrees or zero,” Dietz said.

Place it close to the battery, but away from anything that will melt and grab an old blanket.

“Lay the blanket in there and close the hood gently,” Dietz said. “And it will do two things: it will keep the heat in there and keep the wind out – the wind chill from going in there and cooling things down and it will start like a 40 degree day.”

You might also consider a dipstick oil heater, which you can pick up at a parts store. Your engine doesn’t like frigid molasses like oil.

“The components move slower especially if you’ve got a tired battery and it makes it much tougher to start the engine,” Dietz said.

And finally get the air in your tires checked. The recommended PSI is on a sticker on the car’s door – the colder it is, the more you risk a flat.

“The tire pressure will drop because the air is colder inside the tire, so it can drop as much as 5 pounds,” Dietz said.

With the cold moving in, it’s also important to keep water in your pipes from freezing.

The best way is to leave it trickling overnight.

“Because moving water takes a much, much harder time to freeze,” says Terry of Terry’s Plumbing.

It’s especially critical for any faucet on an outside wall.

“You probably want to have the smallest stream you can get out of the faucet,” Terry said. “You are worried about the same thing with the hot, so you want to run both.”

Ironically the hot water side usually freezes first — Terry says because it’s used less often.

But the biggest problem, according to Terry: outside spigots that haven’t been drained.

He says to turn off the valve on the inside of the wall and then open the outside spigot to drain the spout.

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