Prep your home, vehicles now for extreme cold

Published 9:10 am Monday, December 19, 2022

As Mississippians prepare for the extreme cold this weekend, people are taking steps to protect their homes and vehicles.

The first thing to do, especially for people living in mobile homes or houses on raised foundations, is to protect exposed pipes. Wrap outdoor faucets in thick materials or foam and cover with a waterproof layer. Also be sure any exposed pipes underneath the home are protected. It’s also important to place towels or commercial products at the bottom of doors and windows to help stop wintry breezes from entering your home. Check your HVAC filters before heaters must work harder. If you didn’t change your batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at the time change, do it now. If you use space heaters, be certain they are not on power strips or extension cords as both create fire hazards. Also be certain electric blankets are in good working condition and cords are safe.

Even if Mississippi doesn’t have snow or wintry precipitation, remaining puddles from rain on Thursday could freeze on sidewalks, patios, or other areas. Have some cheap salt or kitty litter around to help make walkways safer. Salt will melt ice to make it easier to remove while kitty litter will help create better traction.

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When the freezing temperatures arrive, drip faucets indoors, especially at sinks along exterior walls. An important step to remember is to drip both hot and cold faucets. It’s also a good idea to open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate underneath sinks. With this extreme weather event, it will be important to follow these steps even during the day as windchills will be quite cold.

With vehicles, be certain antifreeze is topped off. If you’ll be traveling for the holiday weekend, a wintry blend windshield wiper fluid is a good idea. It’s also important to make sure tires have good tread and are properly inflated. Tires lose pressure for every few degrees the temperature drops, and parts of Mississippi are expecting a 30-degree drop between Thursday and Friday.

Many people warm their vehicles for comfort during cold weather, but this also serves a purpose protecting your vehicle. A good 10 minutes before you leave, start your vehicle to warm the engine. This protects moving parts as oil and fluids move throughout the motor better than when engines are cold.