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Keeping Home Safe in Extreme Cold Weather

Not only can pipes burst but home fires occur more in winter than in any other season.
JOPLIN, MO--- Not only can pipes burst but home fires occur more in winter than in any other season. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, half of all home heating fires occur between the months of December and February.

Redings Mill Firefighter Josh Anderson says, " A lot of problems that we run into is people overloading circuits."

Anderson says overloading circuits pull in too much energy and create unwanted heat. Space heaters need to be 3 ft. way from anything that can burn. "People don't believe it but when you get that close to something like the heater to a material like that it will catch fire."

Firefighters say another common mistake is using a blow dryer or blow torch to unfreeze pipes.

"They want it quick and fast so they'll take a blow torch under their house and try to thaw out the pipes and that's no good either," says Anderson.

Plumbers say to keep your pipes from freezing try taking precautions before the zero degree windchills.

Owner of Gary McKinney Plumbing, Gary McKinney, says "Close all of your crawl space vents, remover your hoses from outside hydrants, make sure your entrance to your crawl space is sealed up properly so cold air doesn't get in that way."

He says open all your cabinet doors underneath sinks and let your faucets drip on the hot and cold side. "If you just do one or the other then the other side isn't protected. So if you just drip on the cold side and your hot lines aren't getting any movement they're liable to freeze."

McKinney say damage can be costly. " Your damages from a burst water line can range from anywhere from $100 to $500, but honestly the plumbing repairs is the least of your concerns. It's the structural damage that can be extremely expensive."

Whether it's plumbing or heating both experts say frigid temperatures are dangerous for you and your home if precautions are not taken.

"If it's done right it's totally okay to heat your house, we don't want people being afraid to heat their house up but you've just got to be smart about it," says Anderson.

Firefighters also suggest not using your oven as a heat source. It could be letting out carbon monoxide and become deadly.

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