How to avoid costly repairs while staying warm

CBS Austin

With the temperatures dropping, Central Texans are trying to stay warm, but experts say it can lead to costly repairs.

The Austin Fire Department says its used to seeing an uptick in fires the colder it gets. They say many of them have one thing in common: space heaters.

Where you place them can save your life and your home.

"Space heaters need space. They need about three feet around all directions,” said AFD Div. Fire Chief Palmer Buck.

He says people often try to heat spaces where they keep their pets.

"You have to just make sure that space heater is at a point where there's nothing combustible around it and that your pet isn't going to run into,” Buck said.

He also says making sure your fire place is ready to use is key for avoiding fire.

"When you're using your fire place make, make sure you FLUTE is open, you're only burning hardwoods, and you don't overload the fire box. Make sure you have your chimney looked at, inspected and cleaned on a regular basis,” Buck said.

Plumbing experts also warn people to protect their pipes, so that they don’t crack in the cold.

They say you should allow a steady stream to drip from an indoor faucet, preferably a faucet that’s furthest away from your water meter. They say that allows pipes to get the most circulation.

All outdoors faucets should also be covered, and you should never allow water to drip from them when it’s freezing.