With the cold winter days ahead, now is a good time to take a look at your home’s emergency plumbing and start to take action to prevent frozen pipes. One of the most common causes of property damage is due to pipes bursting once they freeze, and that can leave you with up to thousands of dollars worth of damages. So, take a few minutes out of your day to decrease the risk of it happening to you with these easy steps to prevent frozen pipes.

To start, you will want to inspect any unheated rooms which have exposed pipes. Consider adding some insulation to these rooms (or to the pipes directly). Another way to fight against the cold is to keep your thermostat on throughout the nights and when you leave the house. It may seem pointless to pay for heating while you aren’t there, but it will definitely cost less than repairs from a ruptured pipe.

If you are in the unfortunate position of already having a frozen pipe, you should be careful about your next move. First locate which pipes are affected and where the frozen pipe portion is. Look for bulging pipes, leaks, or cracks along pipelines. If water is escaping, you will want to close the main shut-off valve immediately and contact a plumber for emergency plumbing.

You can attempt to thaw the pipeline yourself using one of a number of methods, but be aware of the risks. Some of these methods include: leaving water running (only if there are no cracks or signs of brittle pipes), using a hair dryer, wrapping the pipe with heat tape, wrapping with a warmed towel, and better insulating the area.

So, don’t wait for emergency plumbing to make a change, act now and save thousands of dollars on damages.