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Winter is here: Preparing your home for a cold winter

Ready for freezing winter temperatures? We have some tips for you to make sure your home and family are safe and warm through the cold weather months.

TYLER — As Old Man Winter approaches East Texas, preparation is key to ensure your home is safe and warn for the spring.

First and foremost, you need to check your gas furnace is safe.

"[Check your] gas furnace today because they have the most potential for disaster," Joe Stowe, owner of Stonebridge Heat and Air.

If your home has a gas furnace, your chief concern should be carbon monoxide. If the furnace is working properly, there is nothing to worry about. However, if it is not, the results could be deadly.

"If you have a furnace," Stowe said, "have your technician or your company of choice come out and check every year."

Dude also says to make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home to protect you and your family.

He also says to check your air filter in your furnace once a month because a dirty filter can make your home feel like an igloo.

"The air can't transfer across so the heating doesn't work properly," Stowe explained.

One concern for many of those during cold weather seasons is pipes freezing.

The guy says to let your faucets drip, open your cabinet doors and make sure your heat is now lower than 55 degrees. Also make sure you cover your pipes outside.

The idea that you need to cover your outside air unit is a myth, even if it feels like it is on fire or turning into a block of ice.

"That's ok if it does that," Stowe explained. "It's defrosting itself and changing and actually going back to the inside, where it's actually trying to transmit the heat back to the inside of the house."

When it comes to the plants, bring those that are not in the ground inside. For the plants outside, you can cover them with burlap or similar fabric. You can also mulch the plant.

Most importantly is you and your loved ones. Make sure you bring your pets inside on days and nights that are especially freezing. On cold days, give them a shelter like a doghouse so they can seek refuge from the elements.

Of course, you need to make sure you have your hands and head covered when going out in the freezing cold. A warm, thick coat will also help keep you warm when you go outside.