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Pipes bursting as they begin to thaw in the Piedmont Triad

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Days of snow and cold have punished our roads. But as we begin to turn the corner, Joseph Curthis, with Johns Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, says warmer air could end up hurting some of our homes.

"As it thaws out, it has nowhere to go and that's when the pipes start bursting. They don't burst until they thaw out," Curthis said.

And when the pipe breaks, water can go everywhere -- flooding multiple rooms in a house. Plumbers have to work hard to shut down the leak.

"You have to open sheet rock and crawl in crawlspaces -- soaking wet in this freezing air," Curthis said.

Plumbers aren't the only people who get calls when pipes burst. Greensboro Assistant Fire Chief Dwayne Church says their calls go up after a long stretch of cold weather.

"A lot of owners don't think about the vacant buildings. They need to keep the temperature up in vacant buildings," Church said.

The Greensboro Fire Department hands out information to landlords advising them to keep their empty buildings at 40 degrees. So for the next few days, the Greensboro Fire Department is thinking broken water pipes when they get a building alarm call. But they are prepared in case the alarm turns out to be more serious.

"We teach our guys not to be complacent. Be prepared for a structure fire anytime you are dispatched," Church said.

For homeowners, if Curthis lets his water faucet drip on a cold night, you should too.

"I do it at my house every winter," Curthis said.