Take care of pipes before they freeze

Ed Del Grande says neoprene sleeves can be wrapped around exposed pipes to insulate them.

Freezing cold temperatures can mean big problems for some of your home's most vulnerable parts.

"You need to be worried anytime the temperatures get below 32 degrees," said Ed Del Grande, a nationally known plumber and contractor.

That's when pipes freeze.

"When a pipe freezes, the ice builds up. And when ice builds up in a pipe, it expands. And that's the way it works in nature," Del Grande said.

How do you avoid frozen pipes?

Del Grande said the best offense is a good defense.

"Go ahead of time and prepare your pipes," he said.

Del Grande said neoprene sleeves should be wrapped tight around pipes that are exposed to insulate them.

And notice when a pipe has frozen.

"Let's say your bathroom is working fine, but your kitchen faucet is not giving you water. That's a good tip of a freeze-up," Del Grande said.

You want to call your plumber right away.

If you lose electricity during a storm, that's when your house becomes the most vulnerable because the heat turns off and your pipes can freeze.

To prevent that, Del Grande said invest in a standby generator. It will automatically kick on the electricity, keeping your house warm and those pipes warm, too.

But if you do have a frozen pipe:

"Get a rag, dip it in really warm water, and lay it over there for a while," Del Grande said. "Handle it as quickly as possible because the more you let that ice build up, the bigger the split could be in those lines," Del Grande said.