Frozen pipes are a big problem this time of year with temperatures hovering below zero at night and in the wee hours of the morning.

“Frozen water pipes represent the biggest potential problem for most homes. A little advance planning will usually prevent frozen pipes,’’ said Jeffrey L. Brewer, vice president of Public Affairs for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

The association is offering these tips to keep homeowners from shelling out thousands of dollars in repairs:

  • Insulate pipes, especially those leading to the outside, and plug holes around the pipes with insulation or spray-in foam.
  • Make sure there is warm air flowing around pipes that are located near an outside wall.
  • Check pipes under sinks to make sure they will get adequate heat.
  • Make sure there is clear access to the main water shut-off valve in case there is a leak or a pipe suddenly bursts.
  • Leaving a pencil sized amount of water running through faucets helps keep pipes from freezing.