Temperature fluctuations testing durability of metro homes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- We've been lucky so far as snow and ice go, but the cold? Not so much. The ups and downs of the mercury are taking their toll on metro houses.

The recent fluctuation in temperatures this winter means that your home repair list could get a little longer. A pristine metro neighborhood doesn't reveal the war Mother Nature has been waging, with this cold, then warm, then cold again winter.

Temperature fluctuations are already causing problems in a house we visited, starting with a crack in the garage that doesn't stop anywhere close. It goes all the way into an internal room where tiles have shifted.

David Pierce, owner of Handyman Matters, explained that many of the materials your home is made of simply can't handle a fast temperature changes. That's why you may start seeing everything from gaps around your house foundation to cracks in the walls and ceilings.

"We noticed the separation between the wall and the concrete slab out there, and it comes through, and you can start to see drywall joints are starting to pop loose and create some separation,” Pierce said.

Pierce said there could also be problems with your pipes.

"Really, it's just the water that freezes up in the pipes. If you have some joints that may have not been put together properly to begin with they can come apart,” he said.

And outdoors, near the heating and cooling unit, quick-changing temperatures could shrink the caulk, which keeps the unit air-tight.

"If you don't stay on top of that and it creates a big gap, it allows in a lot of air and you'll see a lot of expansion and contraction with that type of caulk," Pierce said.

His best advice is to winterize your home and call a handyman if you need to.

A large crack could be very expensive to repair, so Pierce recommends that if you see cracks or any other problems around the house, that you take care of them while they're small.

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