MISSOULA, Mont. - It's been very cold lately and brisk weather can cause some big problems for homeowners and renters.
NBC Montana spent Monday evening talking to plumbers and handymen; they offered advice for viewers struggling with cold weather problems around the house.
Dan Kinzle has been in the plumbing business for fourteen years. Right now he works at ACE Hardware and he says he gets customers in on a daily basis looking for solutions to freezing water pipes.
"Any pipe that has water in it all of the time should have a heat tape on it if it's exposed to below freezing temperatures," said Kinzle.
He says if you're concerned your pipes may freeze another option is to crack your faucet.
"Let it drip a little bit and that will keep pipes from freezing quite a bit," said Kinzle. "It's no guarantee that they won't freeze so you're better off to heat and insulate with heating tape and make sure you've got it protected."
Missoula plumber Jason Templin tells people to pay attention to plumbing in crawl spaces and other small areas because they are common spots for frozen pipes.
"If it gets really windy and it blows through there that's when you know you're going to get some frozen pipes," said Templin. "Or there could be a burst factor."
Templin also suggests leaving cabinet doors open when cold weather hits. He says this can help pipes remain warm avoiding bursting.
"The most important thing for most people is just to make sure you know where your main water shut off is so that if something does break you know how to shut it off," said Templin.
After years of working with customers Kinzle says a little effort ahead of time goes a long way.
"Do this work before it gets cold," said Kinzle. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and it's much more comfortable to crawl underneath a house when its 60 or 65 degrees out then when it's below zero."
One final thing, our experts advise if you're going out of town for an extended period of time leave your heat set at a minimum of 55 degrees. Get too stingy with the power bill and you may end up paying for repairs when you return.