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MIAMI VALLEY — Single-digit temperatures and negative wind chills prompted Montgomery County to issue a Level 2 Severe Cold Weather Plan.
And with the bitterly cold weather that has persisted throughout the weekend and into the week, shelters are been opened to anyone who needs them.
The director of the St. Vincent de Paul shelter says they have been hosting more than 400 people, which is about 100 more than their average attendance.
The frigid weather can take its toll on homes and vehicles, too:
AAA Tips to Keep the Water Flowing
AAA Insurance suggests homeowners take steps now to prevent their homes pipes from freezing and bursting. With the bitter cold temperatures Miami Valley residents can expect this week, pipes can freeze due poor insulation or thermostats set too low.
Both plastic and copper pipes can burst, and recovering from frozen pipes is not as simple as calling a plumber, said AAA Insurance Agent, Stefani Holley. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the potential for mold.
Preventative Steps What You Can Do Now:
– Seal leaks around pipes that allow cold air inside. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out.
– When extreme cold temperatures are forecast, let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall. Just a trickle may keep your pipes from freezing.
– Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when youre asleep, but further drops in the temperature more common overnight could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
– Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and to appliances near exterior walls.
If Your Pipes Freeze:
If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water.
Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. It could cause a fire.
You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house. Leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.
Prevention is key to protecting your home during winter. That includes making sure you have adequate home insurance, said Holley.
AAA Tips to Keep You On The Road:
– For area drivers who stayed home and stayed warm over the weekend, its a good idea to start your car if it was outside for the past few days. When you start the vehicle let it run for about 15 minutes.
– Anytime your car has been outside for more than a few hours let it warm up a few minutes before you put it in drive and begin your journey. Fluids in the vehicle become thicker in extreme cold weather.
Battery Warning Signs. Here are some warning signs that you are at risk for a battery-related breakdown:
– Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start
– You hear a grinding, clicking or buzzing when you turn the ignition on
– Your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine
– Your battery is more than three years old