RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Temperatures will dip below freezing this weekend and that means you and your home need to prepare now.
Here are some helpful tips to safely and efficiently keep your home warm when cold weather moves in:
HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY:
· All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, fireplaces and stoves.
· Place portable space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a model that shuts off automatically if the space heater tips over. Do not use heating equipment to dry wet clothing.
· Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
· Never leave portable heaters, wood burning stoves or fireplaces unattended. Turn them off before leaving or going to bed.
· Keep the fire in the fireplace by using a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
CUT DOWN ON YOUR HEATING BILLS:
· Eliminate drafts. Use either insulating tape or caulking strips to surround windows and door moldings. Cover your windows with plastic sheeting. If you have storm windows or storm doors, get them up to keep the cold out.
· Make sure heat vents aren’t blocked by furniture.
· Turn down the thermostat.
· Close off any rooms that aren’t in use and close heat vents or turn off radiators in those rooms.
· Insulate your light switch and outlet plates with foam pads. Cold air can seep into the house through them.
· Use heavy curtains to keep cold air out. Open them during the day to let the sun help warm your home and close them at night. Use fabric snakes or old carpets in front of windows and doors to help eliminate drafts.
· Turn off vent fans in the kitchen and bathroom when they are no longer needed.
· Set ceiling fans to blow air down.
CAR CARE IN THE COLD:
When you wake up with freezing temperatures the last thing you need is a car that won’t start.
Auto mechanics believe it’s important to give your care a little extra care before the weather starts to freeze to prevent breakdowns.
Auto specialist Trey Alexander with Tao Autocare said you should start your car and let it warm up
before driving to your destination. He explains this will give your engine time to warm up and also get the fluids running.
There’s also a lot of advice that requires work under your hood. Alexander said topping off your fluids, especially the antifreeze is a good idea.
“If you need your vehicle to drive to work, home or school it’s pretty important to check all your fluids at least once a month to be sure everything is topped off and running properly,” said Alexander.
Alexander said most people don’t realize that cold weather can virtually zap your battery.
“At times you can hear your car starting to turn over slower and slower — that’s usually a good idea to get it checked,” said Alexander. “It could leave you stranded.”
When it comes to your tires, Alexander said you should check the pressure about once a week.
“As it heats up outside the tires expand and when it cools down they contract a lot and it sucks the air out of the tires,” said Alexander. “It really takes a toll on your gas mileage too and the way the vehicle handles.”
Alexander said you should never pour hot water on your windshield.