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What to do—and not do—if your pipes freeze or burst

Freezing pipes can cause extensive damage to your home. Here's what you need to know to keep your pipes working this winter.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Folks across the nation are battling snow, ice and frigid temperatures Monday evening, and it doesn't look like any relief will come until next week.

Iowans are trying to stay warm by cranking up every heat source they own, working their house into overtime. 

That could lead to some damage— like pipes freezing or bursting. 

“Anytime you can have some insulation on your pipes that’s going to help them from freezing up," said Doug McCool with Advanta Clean. "You can use cloths and paper sacks with duct tape. Just something you have at home.”

McCool said keeping cabinet doors below your sink open will let warm air in. This can keep your pipes from getting too cold. McCool also noted to keep the faucet dripping.

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Also, disconnect all outside hoses and try to insulate your outside faucets. 

But, what if your pipes are already frozen? 

"Turn your faucets on warm water, not hot water," McCool explained. "That could cause them to burst. And use a heat gun or blow dryer to thaw them out."

If your pipes do burst, turn your water off immediately and call a professional. The water damage could cause mold to grow.

When you do call a professional, watch out for scammers.

“In Iowa, technically right now, you don’t have to have a license to do mold," McCool said.

When calling a professional do your research. Make sure they are licensed, creditable, and never pay upfront.  

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