Polar vortex: What to do, or not

News Journal

Here are 10 tips for coping with this week’s below zero temperatures:


Being warm vs. feeling warm

Hypothermia is most likely to begin in extremities like your hands and feet, so keeping your toes warm is important. Also, don’t let the booze make a fool of you. Although alcoholic beverages might make you feel warm, they actually decrease your core temperature and can be dangerous during extreme cold.

Protect your eyes

If you’re walking in the snow during the day, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare.

Furry friends

Walking your dog should be limited to 10 minutes. If you have or know of animals that can’t come inside (such as farm animals or neighborhood feral cats that you care for), provide enough bedding and insulated shelter for them to keep warm.


“Three-feet rule”

Space heaters are a great way to add extra heat to colder rooms, but always remember to keep anything flammable at least three feet away from the heater at all times. Flammable items include clothing, rugs, bedding and curtains. Also remember to place the heater on a hard, non-flammable, stable surface and to turn it off completely before leaving the house. Set a reminder on your phone if you’re afraid you’ll forget.


If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, don’t lower heat below 55 degrees.

Protect Pipes

Letting your hot and cold faucets drip overnight and opening cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and on exterior walls.


Idling your car

Idling your vehicle for a minute or two in extreme cold is all that’s needed. Idling for 10 to 15 minutes could dilute the oil with unburned fuel, resulting in increased engine wear. And it wastes gas.

Battery care

Before parking the car for the night, shut off the electrical accessories — the heat, radio, interior lights — any power source that could be a drain for the battery. If you don’t have access to a garage, try parking with the hood as near a building as possible to be shielded from the wind. If the car doesn’t start after 15-20 seconds of trying, let the car sit for 2 minutes before trying again.


Keeping the gas tank at half filled can help prevent a fuel line freeze.

Lock freeze

Shooting WD-40 into the locks can help prevent them from freezing overnight, but it can also gum up the tumblers. Some people prefer graphite, which is a dry powder that will not gum up, but that’s way more messy work. Consider buying a deicer and keeping it handy.

Source: The Lima News, Tribune News Media, AAA Auto Club


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