Frigid weather freezing functionality


First Posted: 1/28/2014

LIMA — Frigid weather can take a toll on automobiles, electronics and machines.

Temperatures plummeted in the Lima region on Monday night and Tuesday morning, dropping to 13 degrees below zero, creating problems with cable television service.

“Services at this point are normal. We do have some sporadic issues but nothing widespread,” said Mike Pedelty of Time-Warner Cable. “Earlier [Tuesday] morning, we did see some issues — again sporadic in nature, it did not affect all customers — in certain areas an interruption of service. We identified those and we went to get those services restored.”

Pedelty said when the temperatures are as atypically cold as they have been, “it does have impact on any network regardless.”

He said they dispatched employees to fix the problem, but they also take the necessary precautions and place an emphasis on worker safety so restoration may be slower than during warmer temperatures.

Without her cable, Lesley Lawrence shared “this is going to be one long day.”

The frigid weather also can affect the cold cranking amps of a vehicle’s battery and can adversely affect the anti-freeze in the radiator.

Winter’s cold temperatures can be tough on car batteries for two reasons. The oil in the engine has thickened because of the cold weather making the engine harder to turn over thus requiring more current from the battery, according to Popular Mechanics, and second the “battery cannot produce a normal amount of energy because of the cold.”

Experts advise to pay attention to cold cranking amps, which is a rating system used by battery manufacturers to define a battery’s ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. The rating is the number of amps a new, fully charged battery can deliver at zero degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts, for a 12-volt battery, according to autobatteries.com. The higher the cold cranking amps rating, the greater the starting power of the battery.

During a cold spell earlier in January, Elida Schools Superintendent Don Diglia said the batteries on the school buses needed recharged because of the extreme cold. While the district canceled classes so students would not be exposed to the subzero temperatures, they would have had to delay because they would have needed time to charge the bus batteries.

Automotive experts also advise changing antifreeze every two years. Pure antifreeze will freeze at 5 below zero while a 50-50 mix of water and antifreeze lowers the freezing point to 35 degrees below zero. A 70-30 mix of antifreeze and water will lower the freezing point to 67 degrees below zero, cartalk.com says.

For one woman posting on LimaOhio.com’s Facebook page, the lift gate on her husband’s Chevy Tahoe stopped working, “Apparently it disables when temps are below zero. Who knew?!”

Amy Bettinger Mortimer said her automatic garage door would not work.

For a Delphos woman, the compressor on her refrigerator in her unheated garage would not turn on, according to a post on LimaOhio.com’s Facebook page. Jill Colston said the freezer part could not stay cold enough to keep the food frozen.

The experience proved not to be unique. Tammy Bradshaw experienced a similar problem.

Tuesday morning, Dominion East Ohio officials advised its large industrial and commercial customers in western Ohio they may experience an interruption in their natural gas service because of a restriction of interstate pipeline deliveries into Dominion’s delivery system. The company does not anticipate its 65,000 Lima-area residential customers experiencing any impact from the restrictions on delivery.

“We may have to limit service to some larger customers to ensure that our residential and critical service customers receive their natural gas supply,” Dominion East Ohio Vice President Scott Miller said. “The company wanted to give ample notice to our larger natural gas users so that they can implement their business continuity plans accordingly.

“We are also advising our residential customers to take prudent steps to conserve natural gas use in their homes as well, by voluntarily turning down their thermostats and lowering the setting on their water heaters if they can do so safety,” he said. “We want all of our customers to be safe and careful during this extremely cold weather and we appreciate their cooperation.”

One Lima area resident summarized the feelings of many about things failing to work properly in the cold weather.

Cris Dunlap Ramsey simply said, “Me!”