Some learn the hard way how to protect homes from frigid pipe-bursting weather

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Friday night is forecast to be another below-freezing night.

Lots of people are learning the hard way how to prepare a home for such conditions: with the messy aftermath of a burst pipe, cracked water heater or some other problem.

We caught up with Bobby Lawles who owns and runs Mr. Fix-It in Huntsville.  He says he has been working from morning til night since Wednesday fixing pipes and water heaters that froze, cracked or burst due to the cold.

He's expecting even more business as temperatures continue to stay low.

"A lot of people have frozen pipes that they're not even aware of," said Lawles.  "Breaks that they're not aware of.  So what will happen over the next couple of days is that's when we really get busy."

Thursday, many people who ran into the telltale sign of trouble called Huntsville Utilities for help.

"People wake up, turn on the faucet no water comes out," said Joe Gehrdes, a spokesman for Huntsville Utilities.

He said 66 people called the utility Thursday and more started calling before lunch on Friday.

But there's only so much crews can do to help.

Gehrdes said the first thing crews will tell you to do is turn the water off.

"The valve that's at where the service enters the dwelling, there's a valve there. That's the one we ask the customer to use," he said.  "Not everyone knows where that is.  We can help you locate that.  If you have a frozen pipe that bursts on the customer's side of the meter, we can't address that, you'll need to contact a plumber."

And Bobby is glad to help.  He can be reached at 256-990-7450.

He advises to avoid all of these problems in the first place by turning faucets on to drip.

Huntsville Utilities was happy to report no major problems with power this week.

They believe it's because residents really are conserving by scaling back their use of non-essential heat sources.