FROZEN FRIDAY: Cold Weather Brings Problems

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People bundled up for temperatures in the single digits.

Some couldn't escape the cold, even in their own home.

"We replaced the main limit and checked the filter. The filter was pretty plugged," said Dennis Lane, a technician with Schaal Heating and Cooling in Des Moines.

Lane has taken 15 “emergency no heat” calls since the snow stopped falling Wednesday.

He's busiest when the temperature drops below ten degrees and customers forget to schedule routine maintenance on their furnaces.

"Everything needs to work a lot harder. Especially at night when temps dip really low, your house gets cold really fast," said Lane.

The cold weather is also a factor in some cold-hearted-acts.

January was a busy month for car thefts in the metro.

"We've had about 128 this year," said Sgt. Jason Halifax, the public information officer for the Des Moines Police Department.

Many people don't think twice about leaving their cars running as they run into the store, but Des Moines Police say it can be an invitation for joy riders.

"Leaving your car running while you run in somewhere is a bad idea. Your car won't cool off all that much in the amount of time you're going to be in the store,” Halifax told Channel 13 News.

Despite efforts to keep warm, the cold will cost some a visit to the ER.

"I would say every week we encounter some sort of exposure injury,” said Dr. Sydney Lane, a physician at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.

Frostbite joins slips and falls as one of the most common cold weather injuries.

Dr. Leach says it can occur after just ten minutes of exposure.

"If you start to see your skin getting white and waxy and it feels painful, that's an indication you're getting frostbite," Leach said.

From frozen fingers to a frigid furnace, winter in Iowa is a test of everyone's fortitude.

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