In cold temps: Protect your pipes, furnace, and your family from dangerous situations

CLEVELAND - Your home can be the best place to hide from the cold and wind. That's why we’re on your side with tips on protecting your pipes, your furnace, and your family.

In the bitter cold temperatures, if you're noticing a problem with your natural gas or just in general, Columbia Gas said you should keep your meter clear from any blowing or drifting snow.  You don't want to use a shovel or kick at it because you don't want to damage the pipes or the meter itself. Plus, there’s a lot of other tips to keep in mind, too.

MORE TIPS: Check out our Winter Page

“I'm glad it's only going to last a couple of days,” said Amy Harris, from Avon Lake, who felt the effects of the crazy cold temps. She went home from work to be with her sons and dog Molly.

"I did want to stay home with my kids just in case something...power outage, pipes freezing,” she told us while standing in her warm kitchen with the furnace on 72 degrees.

Russ Krogman from Roto Rooter paid her a visit and said she, and you, can avoid pipes freezing by opening up faucets.

"(Open it) just enough to where it's kind of a trickle,” Krogman said while opening up a faucet in Harris’ basement. He also said to keep the water on when the temps are at zero or lower.  He also suggested knowing where your main water shutoff valve is for the home in case an accident does happen. 

Another important tip: open up the doors to your cabinets allowing the warm air to come in especially if your pipes are facing an outdoor wall.

"If you have a real cold draft blowing at your pipes, you can insulate these pipes,” said Krogman, pointing to a few exposed pipes.

We saw some pipe insulation products at Lowe's.  Some long cases run $1.60-$2 each.

When it comes to your furnace, Columbia Gas said call if you smell gas. Reps can detect any leakage.  Replace your CO detectors generally every 5-7 years, and watch for flame rollout or orange colors that could indicate a problem with your heat exchanger.

"What you would normally want to see is a nice blue flame, uniform,” said Mark Pais, who is a service technician with Columbia Gas.

Amy is glad the guys came out to her home.

"Yeah, I have learned some new things,” she told us with a smile.

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