Cold temperatures cracking water pipes

SEATTLE -- The cold air snap in Western Washington is snapping some homeowner's water pipes.

pipesDennis barker’s 2-month-old puppy found the problem early Thursday morning. His back-yard spigot was gushing water everywhere. Now he’s got a mess on his hands.

“I’m surprised it was this early,” said Barker. “I was definitely going to check tomorrow when it’s even colder; this just happened by chance. I thought I did a good job wrapping it up like I did last year, but not this year.”

Barker spent most of the day waiting for a plumber to inspect the leak. He’s hoping his crawlspace isn’t flooded, too.

“I think I’m lucky,” Barker said. “I don’t know yet, we’ll find out. Hopefully it’s an easy fix.”

Karen Rich, with Take Winter by Storm, has a few tips that could save you thousands.

“An eighth of an inch crack in a pipe can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage in your home,” said Rich.

And if you think turning off the heat at home while you’re at work will save money, it could do more harm than good.

For more information on how better prepare your house, visit the Take Winter By Storm website

“When you leave home for work or holiday travel, don’t turn your heat off,” said Rich. “That’s the main thing, keep it at 55 degrees.”

It’s also a good idea to open cupboards under the sink so your heat will keep those pipes warm and toasty. Plus, the pipes under your house need protection, too.

Also make sure your car is ready for winter. Put an emergency kit in your trunk that’s stocked with water, blankets, batteries, flashlight and a first aid kit.

If you’re headed up to the mountains, don’t forget to pack a set of chains.