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What Cold Temps Can Do To Your Car and Home

Icy Thermometer

The final days of summer are upon us and colder temperatures are going to roll in fast. Despite a loss of your golden suntan, you can also incur a financial loss to your house and car because of the cold. To prepare yourself for the winter ahead and its most common home and auto pitfalls, keep the following in mind:

Cold kills car batteries.

During the winter, AAA receives more calls from people who need a jump than for anything else. This is because cold weather kills car batteries. A car battery loses 60% of its charge when temperatures reach 0 degrees and 35% at 32 degrees. It also take twice as much energy to start a car in colder temperatures.

Luckily, there is a product called a Battery Brain that you can hook up to monitor the charge of your battery. If it detects a loss of power, the device will turn off the battery—so you don’t come out to a dead car. You can also keep a spare and jumper cables around too since car batteries only last about 3-5 years.

Cold air can “deflate” tires.

Cold temperatures cause air molecules to slow down and contract—much like you if you’re outside and start to hunch and shiver. This change also lowers your tire pressure and can have a slew of repercussions if you aren’t careful.

For every 10 degree temperature drop, air pressure can decrease by 1psi. This loss in pressure can cause your tires to form leaks and sustain damage to their sidewalls as they fold in on themselves. A loss in tire pressure can also ruin fuel efficiency and cut down on the life of your tires. Most cars 2007 and newer have tire pressure lights to alert you if something is wrong, but if it’s going to be cold for a long time, you might want to add a little more air to account for the drop in temperatures.

Cold temperatures can cause pipes to burst.

While air “shrinks,” water expands when it freezes. This is why burst pipes are one of the biggest issues in the winter for households. This will cost hundreds to thousands to replace old lines and recover losses from flooding. Here’s what you can do to stop it from happening to you:

  • If you have a pool, drain it before winter comes so it doesn’t suffer cracks and expensive damage.
  • Empty garden hoses and put them indoors.
  • Keep your lower cabinet doors open to keep air circulating to your pipes if your pumbing is right up against an exterior wall.
  • Keep exterior doors like garages closed if pipes run through them.
  • Shut off exterior water and open the valves on your outdoor water supply hoses so they can drain as water expands.
  • Keep your faucets on a drip in extremely cold climates to keep water moving.
  • Don’t let the heat go lower than 55 degrees in your home.

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Cold can cause cracks.

Vinyl Siding is particularly susceptible to the cold. If properly installed, the builder will allow extra space for it to expand and contract with shifting temperatures, However, it can crack badly in the winter if it isn’t on right. If you do your own siding, keep this in mind and talk with your contractor if they’re installing it for you.

Foundations can also be affected by the cold. With thawing and freezing, your foundation can develop cracks. Having an expert come out for regular inspections can keep track of any changes and keep damages to a minimum if you catch it early on.

Cold can damage your drain pipes.

If you don’t clean out your gutters and they’re full of leaves when it starts icing and snowing, then you’re going to have huge ice cubes sitting up there. This will not only damage the structure of your gutters, but prevent your home from draining properly. Gutters are designed to keep water away from the face of your home. If water has nowhere else to go, it will drain down the front of your home and can cause leaks and problems over time. You’ll want to make sure they’re nice and clear before it gets chilly to avoid any issues this winter.

Cover yourself from the winter months with a better home and auto insurance policy.

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