Proper maintenance of household items helps prevent winter problems

As the temperatures around New Jersey get colder, many residents may find that some of their household items may not work as well as they are used to.

Auto experts say that for every 10-degree change in the weather, tire pressure changes about 2 percent. A loss of 5 PSI can affect a vehicle's handling and traction, mechanics say.

"Tires are the one thing that contacts the road. You can have the most powerful engine, the biggest and nicest brakes, but if the tires can't stop or go, that's the most important thing," says CJ Carbone, with ETD Discount Tires.

Carbone says that the Wayne shop has also seen lots of dead car batteries over the past few days because cold weather tends to make older batteries especially vulnerable.

"If you don't start your car for a day or two, the cold weather will really put a hurting on the batteries," he says.

Carbone says that older cars that don't show tire pressure should be checked about once a month during the winter.

Plumbers and heating repair shop owners also say they are very busy when the temperatures drop. Repair technician Harry Barr says that he has been receiving nonstop phone calls for water heater emergencies. He says the issue is water is coming in at much-colder temperatures coupled with the fact heaters are being used for much-longer stretches.

"If you have any deficiencies in your system whatsoever, it's going to show up this week when it gets really cold," Barr says.

Barr says that water heaters over 10 years old may start to see some problems, but he warns that homeowners shouldn't turn their boilers off. He says to keep them on a steady heat even when not home.

"If you shut it down, your house basically loses a degree an hour," he says.

It is also recommended that homeowners remove water hoses from the spigots outside their homes. Ice may build up inside and back up a sprinkler system.

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