How to keep cars and household plumbing running in subzero temperature

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Bliffert Hardware store owner Eli Bliffert says common winter problems can often be solved with preventative measures.

For instance, he gave a simple fix for pipes bursting in the cold.

“Pipes that have a tendency to freeze in your house, you might want to wrap some heat cords around them or some pipe insulation around them,” Bliffert said.

Another issue of subzero temperatures is regular salt will likely not be enough to melt ice on your sidewalk or steps.

“When you get down this cold you need some of the blends," Bliffert said. "So you can use some magnesium chloride, some calcium chloride. All of those products really work much better when the temperature gets down in those single digits and below zero.”

Riverside Automotive owner Peter Bilgo says the biggest key to your car is prepping it in the fall, but there are things to look out for in winter.

Bilgo said the biggest key is to make sure when you start your car, you leave it on long enough to feel heat coming out of the vents, or you will risk flooding your engine. Also, when it becomes cold, rodents may flee into your vehicle for warmth.

“If you have a garage and you have bird seed, make sure it’s in a metal container because those rodents will get in and chew the wiring," Bilgo said."

The Wisconsin State Patrol recommends having an emergency kit in your car packed with items like a blanket, flares and a first aid kit.

 “If your car breaks down and you're anywhere other than in the city, it’s important to have a coat, have a hat, an ice scraper, and a cellphone,” Bilgo said.

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