Stratford plumber provides tips to avoid frozen pipes ahead of weekend storm

With more freezing weather coming to Connecticut this weekend, area plumbers are warning homeowners about possible damage from frozen pipes.
Frank Ballaro of Frank's Plumbing and Remodeling in Stratford says he's seen several feet of water in basements, as well as ceilings and floors ruined by burst pipes.
"We had a whole house in Fairfield three or four years ago that the whole house froze, and it probably cost the guy $25,000 in repairs," said Ballaro.
He says cracks or drafts in the walls are often where the trouble starts.
"If the wind or the cold can get in them spaces, it can freeze the pipes. And what happens, those are the pipes that usually crack and burst," said Ballaro.
The plumber says the pipes closest to the outside walls of the house have the least insulation to the cold outside and therefore have the greatest risk of freezing. He says there are some measures you can take to reduce that risk.
"Set the thermostats high, try to keep the house warm, so that can try to fight against it a little bit," he said.
Ballaro says water that's moving in the pipes will have a harder time freezing.
"Turn the faucets on, let them trickle and that can prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting," he said.
Ballaro says if the pipes run through a basement or crawlspace, that space should ideally be heated.
"A lot of the mentality is, 'Oh, I don't want to heat that space because it's throwing money away.' It's not when you can, if you're going to spend $25,000 to repair," Ballaro.
He does warn against free-standing space heaters, which are a fire hazard.
"A lot of people put them on and go to bed, and hopefully in the morning the pipes are thawed. That risk is not worth taking. At that point you should call a plumber," said Ballaro.
Ballaro says it's crucial to clear your gutters of leaves and debris in the winter. He says ice dams forming in the gutters can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the roof and walls.