With bitter cold forecast, experts suggest steps to prevent damage

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If the current weather conditions aren't to your liking, just wait 'til next week.

Temperatures in the range of ten to fifteen degrees below zero are possible. It's the kind of cold that breaks things.

"(It) causes them not to start," says a wrecker driver dropping off a car at Ty's Penn Shell Thursday evening. 

"Low battery, tires losing pressure." Ty Tarr of Ty's Penn Shell says they're bracing for it.

"When it gets really cold or really hot, it gets busy," he says.

Ahead of the cold snap, experts say you should be doing some checks now.

Keep your tank full of gas to prevent condensation in the fuel line, Ty suggests. Check tire pressure.

And check your battery. A mechanic can get an electronic reading in just a few minutes.

Ty checked a battery for a customer while we were there Thursday. "That one comes out marginal, right on the edge, so it probably could be replaced."

The inspection might have saved the car's owner a breakdown next week.

At Howald Heating and Air, we watched technician Dan Flickinger check out a furnace filter. It's dirty.

"Definitely recommend a change out," he says.

A new furnace filter now could mean you'll get the heat you need next week. And check your furnace flue where it leaves the house outside. Make sure there is nothing blocking the pipes as they exit the house.

Flickinger suggests making sure there's no ice buildup on them. Blockage there could shut off the furnace.

Howald's expects to be busy next week. "You'll find me living here," says owner Larry Howald.

Next week's temperatures could also stress your home's water pipes. 

"There's pipe wrap," says store owner Pat Sullivan. "Maybe those areas you know where you traditionally have problems where there's really cold weather."

Hardware stores usually stock plug-in heat tape, too. You can use it in cold crawl spaces to keep water pipes from freezing and bursting.

And if you haven't already, remember to disconnect garden hoses from faucets.

"If you leave it on and there's water in there, that (pipe) will end up cracking and freezing. You may not know it 'til spring," said Sullivan.