How to prepare your home, car and self for winter weather ahead

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 10:18 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With dangerously cold weather arriving on Thursday, now is the time to get ready.

Your home and car need to be able to handle the freezing temps and possible snow, so Action News 5 is taking action to make sure you’re prepared.

First thing: make sure your pipes don’t freeze during the cold snap.

Open cabinet doors under the bathroom and kitchen sinks, then turn the interior faucets on so there’s a steady drip.

You may need to make a quick trip to the hardware store to weatherproof the rest of your house.

At Whitten Brothers Hardware in Orange Mound, owner Ben Whitten says business is as brisk as the First Alert forecast.

“Preparing on the front end is helpful,” he said. “People are looking at weather stripping to fill in cracks around doors and windows just to keep the cold air from coming in. And a lot of people are using plastic to put over windows.”

From window sealers to pipe protecting foam, outdoor faucet covers to space heaters, there are easy, inexpensive ways to protect your house or apartment from Mother Nature’s winter wrath.

“There’s insulation that you can put over the pipes like in the attic or underneath the house,” said Whitten, “and electric heaters are the most convenient. You just plug it in.”

Make sure any space heater is at least three feet from combustible items like curtains, bedspreads or piles of clothing. 

Unplug it when you go to sleep. 

Look for models that turn off automatically if they accidentally tip over.

When the arctic blast hits, MLGW officials said you can save money on your utility bill by watching how high you crank the heat.

“They can set their thermostat at 68 degrees or lower,” said Gale Jones Carson, MLGW V.P. of Community and External Affairs. “Each degree below 68 saves 4% on our customers’ heating cost.”

And don’t forget about your ride.

At Steve’s Tire and Auto in East Memphis, service supervisor Jonathan Odell said you should:

  • Make sure you have proper tire pressure and tread depth
  • Check and level off fluids
  • Inspect your windshield wiper blades carefully

“Typically, wiper blades should be replaced at least twice a year,” Odell said.

In case it snows, Odell advises drivers to “slow down, slow down,” and if you heat up your car before you leave, he says, “do not leave it unattended.”

Two more things to do before Old Man Winter arrives Thursday with his single-digit temps: top off your gas tank and make sure you have an emergency kit in the car, including jumper cables, an ice scraper, a flashlight, a bag of kitty litter and snacks.

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