Cold keeps heating businesses, auto mechanics busy

Heating repair businesses in Central Florida say they've been inundated with customers needing their heating systems repaired, following this recent cold snap.

"It's been extremely busy. Phones been ringing off the hook. Juggling schedules, trying to accommodate all the people that have no heat," explains Sean Willoughby, of 4 Seasons Heating and Cooling. 

"We came in, turned the heat on and nothing," said customer Rod Doyle. "My wife has cleaned the oven twice, we baked cookies, we made chili, we've got an electric blanket, so we're staying fairly warm in here."

Willoughby says a system should be checked twice a year.

"Make sure the heat is working before you even need it, then it's not an emergency."

He says it's common to smell the dust burn on a heating strip if you haven't used your heater in a while.  He has some advice before calling for service.

"If it's not working, you can reset your breakers, make sure all the settings are set properly. Check your filter, make sure it's not clogged with dirt."

Willoughby says dozens of residents called, hoping to get their homes back with a "warm" welcome.

"It's kinda like Christmas, you know it's coming, but yet it surprises you every year."

The cold weather may be slowing you down a bit and auto mechanics say it may also slow down your car, as this big chill is taking a big toll on vehicles.

Steve Alfieri, of Russell Automotive, says a change in tire pressure could cause issues.

"We've been catching a lot of the tire problems. It will affect steering, fuel economy. If a tire's already worn and tire pressures low, that can blow out, it's possible."

And tires aren't the only problem.

"If the cooling system hasn't been maintained properly it could cause a freezing condition."

And in order to fix that freeze on your windows?

"Windshield washer fluid, make sure it's topped off, so it can defrost the windows.  People are seeing their wiper blades aren't working all well as they should. They don't scrape ice, they're not ice scrapers."

Even mechanics at this shop feel the bitter cold among these engines.

"All the guys are needing heaters right now!"

So before heading out in your car during this cold snap, first check your tire pressure.

"Safety's number one."

Alfieri recommends parking your car in a garage if you can.