Business is up as the temperatures drop for plumbers and heating repair workers.

But they say you shouldn't wait to call when it gets cold.

We met Joseph Le in the plumbing aisle at The Home Depot. Shelves where pipe insulation was on display are now virtually empty.

“I'm trying to prevent my pipes from bursting,” Le said.

He learned the hard way during a previous hard freeze.

“Water everywhere, and we don't want it again,” Le said.

Experts say prevention is the best solution when it comes to your heating system, too.

We followed Village Plumbing and Home Services technician Chris Broussard into an attic.

“And the only downside to being 6'2” is tight spots,” Broussard said.

He inspected a homeowner's furnace and later checked a second unit in an equally claustrophobic crawlspace.

“And if there's a crack, like a hairline fracture, it won't glow or crank up for the gas to come on,” Broussard said.

Broussard told us some families may forgo needed fixes in hopes that any Houston area freeze won't last.

“Even though you don't use that gas furnace, you still need that blower to operate your HVAC system,” Broussard said.

Waiting for problems to present themselves may leave you out in the cold and possibly in search of supplies like Le.

“I guess I've got to go home and wrap it up with a towel and duct tape for now,” Le said.

Some general maintenance you can do on your own is checking batteries in your thermostats and changing filters on a regular basis.

Here are some tips when it comes to protecting pipes:

• Know where and how to shut off your water from the main shut-off valve.

• Seal air leaks around pipes that allow cold air to seep in.

• Insulate pipes near outer walls, in crawl spaces or in attics.

• Disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading outside.

• Turn your faucet on just enough to have constant dripping

• Open cabinet doors to allow heat to circulate around pipes under a sink.

• Leave your heat on and set no lower than 55 degrees.

• Close foundation vents. You can reopen them when weather warms.

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