What Extreme Cold Does To Your House And The Things In It

In winter, many parts of the U.S. face extreme low temperatures — and all the household troubles frigid temps bring.
Posted at 4:48 PM, Jan 11, 2018

Everyone — and everything — gets cold when winter storms swipe across the U.S. Even if you're ready for this kind of weather, you might want to make sure your household is, too.

It can get cold enough to freeze or burst pipes, even if the heat is running and your plumbing is insulated. And heavy snow can pose a risk to the roof — all those individual flakes add up.

Even staying warm through a winter storm can be dangerous. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning increase in cold weather, probably from people using generators and camp stoves indoors. Stick to the furnace, wood stoves or even blankets.

Your electronics will benefit from staying warm, too. Cold generally makes rechargeable batteries in things like computers and phones less effective. They won't provide as much power as usual, and they'll charge more slowly.

And if gadgets have been out in the cold, let them warm up to room temperature before you use them. If warm air condenses on cold electronics, it can make them short-circuit. Check manuals for safe temperature ranges.

And if you do have to leave your house, make sure you know what cold can do to your car. In freezing temperatures, car batteries can lose about a third of their power and only get less effective as temps fall. Cold can also suck the pressure out of your tires. They lose several pounds per square inch for every 10 degrees the mercury falls.