Preparing your home for freezing weather

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ROANOKE, VA (WDBJ7) The unavoidable Arctic air has returned to SW Virginia. If you haven't done so already, now is the time to winter-proof your home.

According to Consumer Reports, water damage accounts for a majority of homeowners insurance claims.

This is a busy time of the year for plumbers.Ted Puzio, of Southern Trust Home Services, says it can be hard to keep up with the demand.

Ted Puzio/CEO, Southern Trust Home Services: "Our phones are blowing up and it's unfortunate because there are so many people at that point who are never told and made aware to do this and everybody is calling us and it's hard to get hundreds of people calling."

There are a number of things to check off the list to ensure your house will not be a victim to the freezing temps - many of which are fairly simple and easy on the wallet.

A great place to start is by insulating exposed water pipes so they won't freeze when temps dive below freezing. If your pipes do crack, know how to shut off the water so that damage is minimized.

Insulation is key and should be done in all corners of your house from your walls, attics and crawl spaces. This will keep the heat inside where it belongs.

When temperatures are forecast to fall below freezing, make sure your room temperatures are set no lower than 65 degrees. Also, open the doors beneath your sinks to circulate warmer air and drip water from your faucet overnight.

"Just tap it down, take it down to where it's just a slow drip. And it might take you a couple of attempts it's not easy. Just something as simple as that."

Outside your home, a common mistake is forgetting to unhook your garden hose. When this happens the water can freeze and burst a pipe inside your home. Make sure those faucets outside are all turned off!

Puzio also said that if you plan on going out of town during a big freeze, go to your basement and turn the main water valve off to avoid an icy surprise when you return.

A little prevention goes a long way and can save you a lot of money (to pay those higher electric bills, of course).