Ways to protect your pipes during freezing temperatures

WILLOWICK, Ohio -- You count on your home's water pipes for drinking, eating, cleaning, washing clothes and more, but if those pipes freeze all of that is in jeopardy and you'll need costly repairs.

With a brutal forecast, area plumbers expect to be super busy.

"It's going to be the busiest time of the year for us," said John Langer president of H Jack's Plumbing and Heating.

Langer said there are steps you can take to try to avoid frozen pipes.

Those steps actually start with an annual furnace inspection. If a faulty furnace breaks down when you're not home that could lead to big trouble.

"When the furnace breaks down and there's no heat, the water lines can freeze and possibly burst," Langer said.

You have probably heard to keep your faucets at a trickle during a deep freeze, but Langer said it's more like a light steady stream.

"Running water typically won't freeze," Langer said.

For pipes located next to exterior walls, Langer advises to open cupboards to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes and under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms.

"If you have an area in the basement, like a crawl space, where's there's a draft, make sure you get some heat in there, anyway you can open that up," Langer said.

If pipes do freeze, Langer said to shut off your main water supply valve. That way, if a pipe bursts, you won't have major flooding. He also said to call a plumber as soon as possible.

Plumbers will then use heating devices that send an electric current through the pipe to thaw them out.

"The big thing is once your water pipes do freeze, you don't want them to thaw out. Because, when a water line freezes, it expands and splits the pipe. Once it freezes you've got to get on it pretty quickly," Langer said.

Langer also said if you're going out of town for a couple days during the arctic blast, don't let your thermostat drop below 62 degrees Fahrenheit.

Additional safety tips to take during extreme cold, here.

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