PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With temperatures dropping low and snow just to the north falling yesterday, cold and winter hazards are now catching people’s attention.
So, how can you guard your home against things that can get very costly?READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Conditions Point To 2021 Not Being A White Christmas
For starters, make sure to cover up those outside hose bibs or turn off the water to them inside the home, if you can.
Especially if you have exposed pipes in the garage or basement.
“It would be my recommendation to insulate the pipes to prevent them from freezing,” said David Wahl of Wahl Family Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing.
Wahl said your main attention right now should be guarding against carbon monoxide poisoning.
“It’s not something where you might pass out really quick,” he explained. “You start getting tired, a little bit of a headache, and you just want to go to sleep…and then that’s it. It’s quick.”
Guarding against it takes two paths; first, working carbon monoxide alarms, and Wahl says don’t treat it like a smoke detector.
“You burn some toast, it goes off, you wave the cookie sheet in front of it, it stops beeping,” he said. “A carbon monoxide alarm is truly an alarm. If that device goes off, it starts blaring and making noise. It’s time to get out of the house.”
Of course, the goal is to never get to that point.
Wahl is part of a Millennial home-buying wave, first-time homeowners heading into their first winter.
“Millennial to Millennial, I would say to you, get a qualified professional, at least get one if you’ve just moved into your home and you’ve never run a heating system before,” Wahl said.
Critically, Wahl said, they can test to make sure the furnace is exhausting properly, and not seeping into the home.
It’s good for peace of mind and as for the thermostat, make sure its batteries are fresh.
“Just find what number seems comfortable for you and set it there and forget it, don’t turn it up and down and try to save energy,” he said.
Some thermostats have double-A or triple-A batteries and need to be periodically changed, otherwise, they die and you’re stuck calling a repair company, and it’s a house call to just replace a couple of batteries.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools Investigating Threats Made Towards Numerous School Campuses
WATCH: Getting Your Car Ready For Winter
Cold weather also has a way of penetrating the bones of people as well as their cars.
That weather gets right to the weaknesses of the car and could leave you stranded.
Especially if you have a low battery and nothing zaps a car battery like the cold.
“If your battery is more than four years old you are living pretty much on borrowed time,” said Tim Deitz.
Getting your battery checked before it dies will help avoid being stranded.
The other major cause of being stranded is the car’s tires and that on your dashboard is meant to get your attention.
What if you don’t have a warning light?
“Walk around the car, take a good look at the tires, if one looks flat, absolutely do not drive with it,” Deitz cautions. “The cold temperatures, on average, you’re going to drop five-to-six PSI per tire.”
So, take a look at the driver door jam for the sticker to find the recommended pressure for your tires.
“Some people like to run 35 as an average,” Deitz said. “That’s not a bad idea, but it’s always a good idea to go with what the manufacturer recommends.”
While you’re looking, check the tread on your tires, you’re going to need all you can get before you know it.
“If you’re going to take a turn at a speed you want the car to go through the turn, we don’t want the car to slide or go straight,” Deitz said. “Having ample amount of tread is paramount.”
Deitz said some tires are good for April, May, and June, but are not meant for the roads of November, December, and January.MORE NEWS: Holiday Shopping Tips: Identifying And Avoiding Online Shopping Scams
He also said an oil change can help a marginal car get going on a cold morning.