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Feeling the cold? Warm up to a plan for stretch of chilling temps

Experts know ice and snow are not the usual weather tussle for south Texas. So they urge planning from pipes to staying warm safely.

SAN ANTONIO — Benjamin Tracy works for Goettl Air Conditioning and Plumbing. He said that when the weather gets cold, their workload heats up.

"We see a lot of stuff when cold weather like this comes," Tracy said.  "And it's usually due to poor planning."

Goettl recommends:

  • Insulating outside pipes and the ones in the garage.
  • Leave water trickling overnight to fend off pipes bursting.
  • Open the cabinets where pipes are to them warm.

According to State Farm, the insurance company paid out $769,000 in frozen pipe property claims. The company said the average claim was $10,000.

Thousands of dollars in damages, and sometimes loss of life, is what San Antonio firefighters brace for during colder weather.

"December, January and February are when the vast majority of our fires that are related to home heating occur," Joe Arrington said.

Arrington, an SAFD public information officer, believes the cold weather-related fires are preventable.

"This time of year, we see that one in every seven home fires are usually caused by some sort of heating malfunction," he said.

SAFD set up a page, Firesafesa.com, where they list tips for cold weather fire safety. Those include:

  • Keeping heat sources three feet away.
  • Plugging space heaters into a wall outlet.
  • Refraining from heating your home using an oven.
  • Using generators outside.
  • Cleaning fireplaces before use.

"Anytime we have to respond for the fire where there's any kind of injury or potential fatality, it's always tough on us," Arrington said.

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