How to stop the cold temps from draining your wallet

(WSPA) - A lot of people woke up Tuesday morning to freezing pipes. Plumbers throughout the area say they've been getting a lot of calls.

Whether it's pipe repairs, or losing heat, the cold weather can really drain your wallet. Here's how homeowners can avoid that in this 7News Consumer Watch.

Cindy Thomas, a Spartanburg homeowner, has had an exterior pipe burst before, so this year she's taking no chances.

"I got the piping insulation, I got the duct tape," she said as she showed us the wrapped pipe.

It's the homeowners.who don't cover outside pipes and the one's in unheated garages that are keeping the guys at Carolina Plumbing very busy.

"Took about 34 minutes, 45 minutes of actual blow drying," said Will Herrera with Carolina Plumbing, referring to his first job of the day thawing out pipes.

It's work you can do before calling a plumber if your pipes haven't burst yet.

Plumbers say not all pipes are created equal. Copper and PVC can burst easily in the cold. So Carolina Plumbing recommends Pex.

"Pex will actually expand if there's ice in it and freezing. And once that ice thaws out it resumes its size," said Ed Bishop, the owner.

In weather like this you should always disconnect your hose because it can cause your outside spigot to freeze and burst. You should also cover the spigot with insulation or better yet a freeze proof faucet which is only about $25 at your local hardware store.

Back at Thomas' house, she's sealed up cracks in her foundation walls, and found a cheep, effective window sealer.

"See the bubble wrap up there? What it is, is I took the flat side of the bubble wrap, sprayed windex because the ammonia makes it stick to the windows and the air in the bubble wrap will help insulate the windows," said Thomas.

Inside, she uses fans to circulate gas heating insulated walls with moving rugs, and she keeps faucets at a constant drip.

"That gives me a chance to live within my budget. And if I can do it, there's a lot of people out there who can do it also," she said.

Her monthly gas and electric combined is under $150 for 1100 square foot house. And she hasn't had to call a plumber in years.

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