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How to safely heat and protect your home during cold weather months

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the leading cause of fires in U.S. homes.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Cold temperatures have arrived and some Central Pennsylvanians aren't looking forward to the freezing weather.

"It’s miserable, it snows, you can’t go anywhere," said one woman.

For those staying in, Dustin Klien, an HVAC expert says it's best to give your home proper care.  This includes insulating pipes and replacing old air filters.

To insulate pipes, homeowners can put cloth or foam coverings over pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting. Klien said you should turn the valve off inside to drain any excess water.

"That also prevents any air from getting inside and causing a crack over the winter," said Klien.

He added that if you don't take care of your pipes, the cost of replacing old ones can cost between $500 and $1,000, which does not include the fees associated with water damage that could potentially destroy your basement.

Next, make sure you keep the area near the heating unit exhaust pipes clear.

"You also want to make sure that when it snows, it doesn’t pile up on it because will shut off your heating equipment as well, " he said.

While the cold temperatures may be moving in, Harrisburg Fire Department is warning homeowners to be careful with space heaters.

"We see 2-3 fires every year on average that are a direct result of people using a space heater," said Fire Chief Brian Enterline of the Harrisburg Fire Department.

Nationwide, The Consumer Product Safety Commission said portable space heaters cause more than 1,000 fires annually.

Some tips include:

  • Keeping heaters at least 3 feet away from clothing and furniture.
  • Plug the unit directly into an outlet instead of an extension cord.
  • Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes.

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