Cold Snap Hitting Batteries, Garage Doors & Pipes - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Cold Snap Hitting Batteries, Garage Doors & Pipes

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The chilly temperatures haven't been easy for anyone. But they're taking a toll on the essentials we all rely on, like car batteries. At Reno's Batteries Plus, Don Vergilio says they haven't been this busy for years. "Ah, it's been crazy as you can imagine. The cold spell that hit us really upped our car battery sales and installations."

Cold batteries are leaving folks stuck all over town. Don installed 15 new ones just yesterday. Even his store manager needed a jump to get to work. "It was 5 degrees when I woke up the other day. My car had a hard time starting, but a lot of people with older batteries. They're just not starting in the morning."

It's enough to bring me back to my time in Maine and northern New York. There, a common sight was to see power cords coming out of the vehicle grills…people have engine and battery warmers there. Here, if you don't have a garage, they're left out in the cold. Vergilio told us, "With severe cold, even a good battery may not start your car. It just may need to be warmed up."

At the Nevada Overhead Door Co., Chris Smith has another problem: the cold is causing garage door springs to snap. "Then you can't open your door anymore. You have to call some repairman to come out and replace them."

He's done dozens of spring changes this week at $175 apiece. Another big service call lately: garage doors frozen stuck to the ground. They get calls for that "Every day. If you have moisture, any kind of water and it freezes, it's stuck."

And there's the danger of busted pipes. At Savage and Son, Dave Frickhoeffer is waiting for the onslaught of phone calls once it warms up and frozen water melts…expanding and breaking pipes in homes. After this cold snap, there will be plenty of those. "Especially if it's an older home that doesn't have a lot of good insulation with it."

What can you do now? When you're away from home, keep the thermostat above 60. "Because you don't have any water moving in the house. Still water is going to freeze."

Like the rest of us are doing now.

-written by John Potter

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