Protecting your home: Snow, bitter cold causing damage to houses

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PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- The weekend snowstorm and bitterly cold temperatures have been wreaking havoc on many homes and properties across Northeast Ohio.

Before the snow even stopped falling, a flurry of calls came in to H. Jacks Plumbing and Heating in Wickcliffe.

"It’s been very, very busy. We’ve had crews going around the clock,” said John Langer, H. Jack's owner and president. “A lot of no heat, a lot of frozen waterlines and things of that nature.”

John says many of the issues can be prevented, but homeowners must be proactive this time of year.

To prevent waterlines from freezing, John says check the lines and the air temperature around them.

If the lines are along an outside wall, under a cabinet or in a cold drafty basement, open the cabinet doors and get some heat into the area.

Make sure any outdoor hoses are disconnected from the house.

And if you’re going out of town, turn the water off at the main.

“And the big tip we give all of our customers is when you know it’s gonna get cold, leave a little bit of water running, because at the end of the day running water won’t freeze,” said John.

If your pipes do freeze, call the professionals right away because freezing causes cracks that can lead to flooding as they thaw.

Frequently check the outside of your home and gutters for ice jams and snow buildup which can bring down the gutters and cause damage to the roof.

And inspect all exhausts and vents to make sure they aren’t clogged with snow, especially with newer high-efficiency furnaces.

“Customers with high-efficiency furnaces, where you have both an intake and an exhaust going out the outside wall, we’ve seen customers using their snow plows or snow blowers pushing snow against those intakes and when you do that it’s gonna shut off your furnace,“ said John.

John also recommends carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, putting fresh batteries in the thermostat and changing the air filters frequently to prevent the furnace from overheating.

John says it won’t only save you money, but could save your life.

**More stories on the winter storm**

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