Cold weather preps: taking proactive steps can keep you safe, save money

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Thursday, December 22, 2022
Cold weather preps: taking proactive steps can keep you safe
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With temperatures set to hit the teens this weekend, now is the time to take proactive measures to winterize your home and car.

With temperatures set to hit the teens this weekend, now is the time to take proactive measures to winterize your home and car.

"Get your unit tuned up, making sure that it's in great working condition by a professional," said Troy Goss, Service Manager with Air Experts Heating & Cooling in Raleigh.

Goss suggests people clear leaves and debris away from outdoor units.

"Windows and doors represent a lot of air leakage where you lose a lot of your temperatures, so that's where we lose it the most. And also insulation in our attics," Goss said.

He said you shouldn't completely turn off your A/C, though adjusting the temperature and replacing filters can help save money and improve air flow.

"If you don't disconnect your hose from an outside hose attachment, it can actually freeze inside of that wall and bust. Well when the thaw happens out, that's when you'll notice a large leak happening," said Mark Crowder, Field Supervisor for Air Experts Heating & Cooling.

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Homes are not the only property people need to winterize this season.

"A lot of customers come in with batteries going low. The voltage in them just isn't enough to crank the car in the morning. We end up seeing some coolant leaks, because of everything gets so cold and contracts and the gaskets start to seep and leak," said Eddie Yacos, owner of Motor City Garage.

Batteries in outdoor security systems can also decrease more rapidly in the cold, so charging them more often, especially while at home, is advised.

Cold temperatures can impact tire pressure, so checking PSI levels before heading out on a trip is important.

"The tires you definitely want to make sure you have good tires in case of inclement weather. You get snow or ice, those are always the people you see in the median that have bad tires," Yacos said.

Bridgestone Tire suggests keeping your gas tank at least half full, to reduce condensation in an effort to prevent gas line freeze ups.

WATCH | Tips to prepare your car for the winter cold

Tips to prepare your car for cold weather

For those staying local, shelters are seeking volunteers.

"We've already seen this year 300 unique people that showed up at the shelter, so we already know that we've seen more this year," said Vance Haywood, who serves as Pastor at St. John's Metropolitan Community Church in downtown Raleigh.

He oversees the county's white flag shelter program, which is in effect when the temperature is expected to be 35 degrees or lower.

"We've tried to increase the bed capacity just because we have more folks that are experiencing homelessness and more folks relying on the shelter system. So we currently have 150 beds in the white flag shelter program that we're trying to keep available, and we're trying to open up additional spaces. We also have additional sites this year, so all 150 beds aren't in the same location," said Haywood.

For men, shelter locations are Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh on Wade Avenue and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church on Hillsborough Street. For women, there's Open Table United Methodist Church on North Bloodworth Street, and for families with children, there's the Salvation Army on Capital Boulevard. Shelters operate from 5 PM to 8 AM.

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They're collecting donations including toiletries, socks, and canned foods, and need help for the holiday weekend.

"It means the world to people when they see folks show up and see that they cared enough to give an hour of their day to be there to make sure they had a safe space to be," Haywood said.

North Carolina Emergency Management advises residents and visitors to follow these tips:

  • Pay close attention to your local forecast and be prepared for what's expected in your area.
  • Keep cell phones, mobile devices and spare batteries charged.
  • Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio or a weather alert app on your phone to receive emergency weather alerts.
  • Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
  • Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first-aid kit and road map.
  • Gather emergency supplies for your pet including leash and feeding supplies, enough food for several days and a pet travel carrier.
  • Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time during freezing weather.
  • Look out for your friends, neighbors and the elderly during winter weather.