"Ends up costing tens of thousands:" How to protect your home from frozen pipes

NOW: “Ends up costing tens of thousands:“ How to protect your home from frozen pipes

SOUTHEAST Wis. (CBS 58) -- The cold can be hazardous not only to our health but also to our homes.

The Greenfield Fire Department answered a call just last week of water rushing out of a wall. The pipes had frozen and then burst.

"The heat was set too low to try to save a little bit of money and unfortunately it ends up costing tens of thousands of dollars," Chief Jon Cohn said.

Cold weather is also thought to be blamed on pipes bursting at Next Door on 29th Street in Milwaukee, a center for early childhood education.

"We probably haven't seen the peak of some of the burst pipes."

Fire Chief Jon Cohn says they expect more calls as frozen pipes start to thaw but there are several things homeowners can do to avoid becoming their next emergency call of a damaged pipe.

"When it comes to the cold knowing your building is pretty important."

That means making sure your pipes are getting enough heat by opening cupboards under plumbing fixtures so that heat can circulate through especially if they are on an exterior wall.

Also, it's a good idea to add insulation wraps to exposed pipes in colder areas like garages or basements.

Another trick for a sink or bathtub that isn't used everyday is to keep the faucet on a slow drip on especially cold days since frozen pipes often burst from the pressure of expanding ice pushing water against a closed faucet. 

Firefighters suggest teaching everyone how to find and turn off the water main valve and if you do find a frozen pipe, don't try to fix it yourself. They suggest calling a professional. 

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