Give a car and pipe checkup from the cold spell - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Give a car and pipe checkup from the cold spell

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Winter is in the air, now is the time to be proactive, both in and out of your home, with these freezing temperatures.

The number one thing we need to look out for in our homes, experts say, is frozen pipes. If you don't monitor them and your pipes burst, it could leave you with a costly repair or a flooded home.

In order to make sure you're in the safe zone, if you turn on a faucet and no water comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. If that's the case, turn off the water. Then, try thawing it out with a safe source, like a hot towel, an electric heating pad, or even a hair dryer.

Local experts with Full Steam Ahead Inc., recommend you avoid applying heat directly to the frozen section. You want to start away and move towards the area that's frozen to slowly warm the pipe to try to keep it from bursting. If a pipe does burst, shut off the water valve.

Avoid anything that would cause the pipe to burst, like a blowtorch or any other open flame device.

If one pipe freezes, others may be too, so make sure you check all your faucets.

“If you suspect the temperatures are gonna freeze and you think there's a possibility that your pipes might freeze, leave some water running in your kitchen and your bathrooms where the pipes run under the sink,” said Toni Benson-Powell with Full Steam Ahead Inc. “Also, open the cabinet doors, so that the heat from your home can get into those pipes and keep them above freezing.”

If you haven't covered external pipes, make sure you do so, that will save you a hassle through the winter. Check areas with poor insulation like your attic, garage, and basement. Experts recommend covering those pipes with towels or plastic.

If you're going to leave your home, set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees so it stays above freezing.

Then, before you leave check your vehicle. As the temperatures drop so do your chances of your car running properly.

Experts at C&G Auto in Myrtle Beach say a common problem this time of year is a battery failure. To warm up your battery, auto technicians recommend wrapping a heating pad around it.

Another big issue is your tires because as temperatures drop, so does inflation.

Also, check all your fluids, like your oil and antifreeze, because they tend to thicken in the cold.

Always have a full tank of gas, otherwise condensation will build where there's air above the fuel and freeze. It's simple: more gas means less condensation and no problems. 

When you head out, keep an eye on your dashboard for any warnings lights popping up.

"If you see a warning light, pay attention to what particularly its telling you about. If it's a check engine light, it probably has to do with some of the engine function,” said Gary Freeman of C&G Auto. “It will be okay to drive your car, but you want to have it checked out as soon as possible.”

If you're really worried about how your vehicle is running experts say now is a good time to bring it in for a checkup before it gets colder.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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