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How to protect pipes during freezing temperatures

There are a few things you can do to help prevent your pipes from freezing as the temperature drops this winter.

Michelle Martin thought her pipes were prepared for the freezing-thawing cycle that often wreaks havoc on plumbing systems, but the temperature fluctuation was too intense.

As temperatures dropped below freezing, Martin's garage flooded when a pipe burst.

Her plumber, Brett Clauson from Beacon Plumbing, said he's responded to dozens of pipe burst calls since temperatures dipped below freezing in the Seattle area.

The problem is fairly simple: water freezes, thaws and expands, which is too much for the pipes to handle -- so they crack.

Here are Clauson's tips for protecting your pipes in the cold weather:

-- Keep the water running so it moves throughout the pipes.

-- Cover vents in crawl spaces.

-- Disconnect hoses or shut the water supply to hoses or outside fixtures.

-- Add foam insulation.

-- Add heat source to garage or attics with plumbing fixtures.

Also see | 5 ways to prepare for freezing weather around Puget Sound