With temperatures forecast to hit the low teens in Chattanooga this week, several local businesses and organizations provided information to help area residents avoid harm.
Click here for more information from NewsChannel 9 about the forecast.
Water pipe tips
When temperatures dip, pipes can freeze and burst as the water inside them expands.
NewsChannel 9 reported that repair crews have already dealt with three water main breaks in Soddy-Daisy during these cold conditions. These burst pipes have affected 100 people so far.
To help people avoid these situations, Tennessee American Water suggested following these tips:
—Allow faucets to drip overnight. The cost of a small trickle will be less than a burst pipe. Also, consider saving the dripping water for later use.
—Keep inside pipes warm by opening cabinet doors to expose pipes to room temperatures.
—Know how to shut off your water by locating your main water shut-off valve.
If your pipes do freeze, here’s what to do:
—Shut off your water immediately before attempting to thaw the pipes.
—Thaw the pipes by using a hair dryer or space heater. However, avoid leaving the space heater unattended and do not use open flames or kerosene.
Cold temperatures can be just as uncomfortable and deadly for animals as they can be for humans.
Here are some ways to keep your pets healthy, warm and happy this winter, according to the Humane Society:
—Keep dogs indoors or provide adequate shelter. Outdoor doghouses should be dry, draft-free and big enough to let the animal move freely, but small enough to keep in body heat. The floor should be raised a couple of inches from the ground and covered in cedar shavings or straw. The door should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
—Never let cats roam outdoors, even if they do during other times of the year.
—Check outdoor water bowls to make sure water is unfrozen.
—Use plastic food bowls, as your pet’s tongue may stick to a metal dish.
—Rock salt and other chemicals used to keep roads from freezing over can irritate a pet’s paw pads. Consider using dog shoes on walks and/or wiping your dog’s feet afterward to prevent further irritation.
—Cold weather can cause frostbite on your pet’s ears, nose and paw pads, so keep walks short.
—Antifreeze used to keep cars working is sweet in taste and can attract pets or children. Make sure to clean up any spills, because the solution can be deadly if consumed.
—Make sure farm animals have access to a barn or three-sided run-in to escape the cold.
—Use heated buckets/water heaters/deicers to keep farm animals’ water from freezing.
—Feed horses more forage during extreme cold to help them regulate body heat.
—If you encounter an animal exposed to the cold, politely let the owner know you’re concerned. Some people genuinely don’t know the danger cold can pose to animals and will be quick to correct any problems. If the owner does not correct the issue, follow these steps.
Electricity bills can skyrocket in cold winter months as people fight to warm up their homes.
TVA has some tips for people who want to stay warm while keeping their bills low:
—Keep curtains open on the south side of the house and closed on the north side to trap warm sunlight in the home.
—Set your thermostat to 68 degrees and turn it down if no one will be home for several days.
—Insulate heating and cooling ducts, repair any air leaks, and add insulation to crawlspaces, attics and exterior walls.
—Change air filters monthly, as dirty filters force heating systems to work harder.
—Caulk and weatherstrip around windows and doors, and install insulating gaskets to exterior light switches and electrical outlets to stop air leaks.
—Take advantage of the heat generated by cooking.
—Make sure fireplace dampers are closed to prevent warm air from leaking out through the chimney.
—Keep weeds and debris away from outdoor heating systems.
Winter driving tips
Driving in the winter can become dangerous when roads begin to freeze over or when car parts stop functioning.
To help keep people safe, AAA offered some winter driving tips:
—Avoid driving while fatigued.
—Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed space like a garage.
—Make sure tires are properly inflated.
—Keep gas tanks at least half-full to avoid a gas line freeze-up.
—If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
—Do not use cruise control while driving on a slippery surface.
—Drive with a fully charged cellphone in case of car problems.
—Pack a hat, gloves, blanket, food, water and any needed medications in case you become stranded.
—If you get stuck, stay inside your vehicle. This will provide temporary shelter and make it easier for rescuers to find you.
—Make sure your exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, mud or ice. A clogged pipe can cause deadly carbon monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment while the engine is running.
—If possible, run the engine just long enough to remove the chill from your body in order to preserve gasoline.