HAGERSTOWN, Md. (DC News Now) — Frozen or broken water pipes can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars. As we brace and push through brutally cold temperatures, local water departments are reminding customers how to prevent frozen or broken pipes.

What should be at the top of your list? Experts said you should know where your main water valve is and how to shut it off.

“So, if a pipe breaks, that’s the first thing you want to do,” WSSC Water Spokesperson Lyn Riggins said. “You want to get the water shut off and your house so that you have the least amount of water damage.”

Insulating your pipes and keeping your home above fifty-five degrees can also prevent damage to your house and your wallet.

“If you’re home and it’s cold for an extended period of time, leave a faucet on a trickle so water is moving through those pipes that will limit the chance of the pipe freezing and breaking,” Riggins said.

If your pipes do freeze, WSSC Water says to get some good advice before you try fixing things yourself.

“Probably the best thing to do is to talk it through as a plumber,” Riggins said. “You never want to use a blowtorch to warm up your pipes. Any type of tool like that a hairdryer is fine to thaw pipe but never want to use anything else just too dangerous.”