Single digit temps: what you need know - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Single digit temps: What you need know

Posted: Updated:
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Yes, its January. Yes, it's winter. Yes, it's supposed to be cold. But not this cold.  Not in the Carolinas.

The cold snap - single digit temperature - is not the norm, and might drive people to take drastic steps.

"We know people are trying to stay warm" said Captain Mark Basnight of Charlotte Fire Department. "But we want you to stay safe, stay alert, and stay alive."

Fire officials are especially warning residents to take precautions if they're using space heaters or portable heaters.

Workers at Lowe's - the home improvement store - say space heaters are selling quickly.

Sebastian Marth stopped in to buy one.

"Our dogs stay in the garage overnight so since it's getting so cold tonight we thought we need to add some additional heat" Marth said.

Fire officials say people should remember that the portable heaters - electric or kerosene - "can be dangerous."

"Make sure there's enough space between heaters and anything combustible" Captain Basnight said. "Curtains, clothes, wood, and paper."

Captain Basnight said there should be at least 4 feet between these heaters and items.

"And that safety zone we want them to establish also includes their children because they can be burn. They {heaters} can be a burn hazard, and also for pets" Captain Basnight said.

Residents need to be aware of more than hazards.

Home improvement experts say the extreme cold can cause expensive fixes for home owners.

"One of the most important things - one of the easiest things is from pipes freezing" said Todd Ciavardini, of Lowe's.

Ciavardini says water spigots, exposed pipes outside, and any exposed pipes in crawl spaces not insulated are vulnerable to cracking or major water leaks.

"That's one of the most expensive fixes this cold temperature will have for homeowners" he said. 

Ciavardini suggested homeowners buy spigot covers, and hose insulation for the pipes.

"A lot of people don't think about it. Kind of out of sight, out of mind" Ciavardini said, but he pointed out this region was not built for these temperatures. "A lot of times these houses that are build in the South - some of the pipe insulation - they don't think about that because we don't have these temperatures."

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow