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Prevent your pipes from freezing this winter

“I’ve seen homes with $50,000 to $60,000 of damages. You have a swimming pool in your basement you weren't counting on."

ST. LOUIS — Plummeting temperatures means increased chances for pipes bursting in your home.

Norm Tyler has been a full-time home inspector for six years. He said homeowners typically want to winterize their homes before the weather gets cold. But here in the Midwest, there’s still time.

“With St. Louis weather being what it is. We’re probably going to get a second chance. It’s going to warm-up again, then freeze again.”

His best advice, shut off the water.

“Everyone who lives in your house should know where the water shutoff valve is,” Tyler said.

“Just in case there's a water catastrophe. It's important to know where that is. In this case this is the shutoff. Just turn it here righty tighty, lefty loosey."

The pipes hit hardest are those closest to the cold outside air, Tyler said.

"When it freezes, the ice gets bigger, it expands,” Tyler said.

“The copper is soft and pliable, but it doesn't like to be frozen so if it expands it will crack."

Once the water is turned off, don’t forget to drain the pipes.

"Sometimes people have copper pipes on the exterior of the house, those are especially susceptible to freezing,” the home inspector said.

“Pack that with some sort of insulation for shut it off from the inside."

Let faucets still in use drip.

“At least if it freezes, it will freeze a little and there will be air around there and it won't expand to the point where it will crack the pipe," Tyler said.

Make sure you seal up other parts of your home to prevent cold air from entering.

If you have a fire place, make sure you close the damper when it’s not in use. Keeping garage doors closed.

Not taking precautions could lead to a lot of problems.

“I’ve seen homes with $50,000 to $60,000 of damages,” Tyler said.

“You have a swimming pool in your basement you weren't counting on."