Cold poses challenges for sprinkler systems and batteries - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Cold poses challenges for sprinkler systems and batteries across southeastern Minnesota

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Even though temperatures were a bit "warmer" Tuesday, the cold is still caused big problems all across the area.

From frozen pipes, to cars that just won't start, we can only hope warmer days are around the corner. It's amazing the difference we feel outside when there is no wind, but for pipes and cars wind chill doesn't apply and to them it's still brutally cold.

Extreme cold and water pipes don't mix.

"The sub-zero weather for an extended period of time is part of the problem," said Capt. David Worstman with the Rochester Fire Department. "We get ice that builds up and when it starts to change in temperature and get a little bit warmer those blockages of ice now start to melt."

Crews were called to the North Plaza office building on North Broadway at about 7:20 a.m. Tuesday. Water was flowing from the sprinkler system into the Verizon offices. That was the fourth burst pipe call the Rochester Fire Department responded to after midnight on Tuesday. Prior to that call crews responded to a fire alarm at Crown Apartments at 4:30 a.m. Firefighters there found water spraying from the ceiling of the lobby area of the building. They found another frozen fire sprinkler pipe. The fire department says significant damage was done to the entry way.

And if it's not the pipes freezing, your car may not be starting.

"People keep coming in for battery tests and buying batteries and having issues starting," said Jason Pipkorn, General Manager of Advance Auto Parts in Rochester.

There are ways to help get your battery through the winter. If your car is already in a garage consider yourself lucky. There are such things as battery blankets and block heaters designed to help keep batteries from freezing in extreme cold, but knowing when your battery is going to die isn't an exact science.

"One day you can go out there and it starts fine and a few hours later you go out and get click. There's really no timetable for it. When it goes it goes," Pipkorn said.

And a lot of them have been going.

Pipkorn said the best way to prevent your battery from dying is to be proactive.  Know your battery's age and get it tested. When the forecast calls for a cold blast you might want to think about getting it replaced. 

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