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Preventing frozen pipes before temperatures dip into single digits

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With temperatures expected to dip into the single digits on Monday night, plumbing companies are bracing for a busy morning on Tuesday with some of the first calls for frozen pipes this season.

"People are really scared about how cold it's going to get tonight," said Melody Scarborough of Metro Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in East Brainerd.

She was taking a lot of calls from concerned customers on Monday who were wondering what they could do to keep their pipes from freezing overnight.

Scarborough is on call 24/7, and talks customers through home emergencies.

"You really have to try and calm them down, and let them know that it's going to be OK and you'll get someone out there as soon as you can," she explained.

When it gets extremely cold, water can be a homeowner's worst enemy.

Before the worst can happen, Scarborough says you should know where the main shut-off valve for water is inside your home. In both older and newer homes, it's typically near a water heater, in a basement or garage area.

Once a pipe freezes, there's not much you can do until it can thaw out and potentially, create a big mess.

"The best thing to do is try to talk (homeowners) through getting their water off. Once that's done, the damage is no longer being done, and they're usually OK after that. But people see water, and it's scary," said Scarborough.

Before you go to bed tonight, allow your faucets to drip -- kitchen, bathrooms, every sink in your house. Open all cabinet doors under sinks to allow heat to reach your pipes. Also, be sure to detach any outdoor hoses, and cover all hose bibs.

"It takes all of 10 minutes to do it," Scarborough said. "It's probably going to save you a lot of time, a lot of headache, and a lot of money."

Although there is no guarantee that your pipes won't freeze, taking a few extra steps can help avoid a mess that could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.

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