STRATFORD - Winter business is booming for local plumbers as the extreme cold temperatures are causing problems for people's pipes.

The icy temps are causing pipes to burst in homes around southwestern Connecticut. With even more frigid weather in the forecast, it's a good idea to know what can be done to prevent the costly dilemma.

News 12 Connecticut spoke to plumber John Dempsey, of Stratford, who offered some tips for avoiding burst pipes.

Rule No. 1, he says, is that running water doesn't freeze. If you lose your heat, you should turn on your faucet to keep the water flowing.

Homeowners should make sure that pipes close to exterior walls are well insulated. They should use indoor valves to shut off water from pipes that lead to outdoor faucets.

Finally, Dempsey recommends sealing off any leaks that allow the cold air to come inside.

Experts say about a quarter-million American homes suffer severe water damage every winter due to cold-related pipe breaks.