Burst water pipes from the cold a costly and growing problem around metro Denver

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DENVER -- Most of us in metro Denver loved our brief warm-up Friday after our record cold, but some homeowners hate it about now.

Rising temperatures mean frozen water pipes thaw out. If they burst or leak, it can cause a lot of expensive damage.

Applewood Plumbing told us property damage from burst water pipes can be upwards of $50,000.

A homeowner in Wheat Ridge will burn through some cash for damage to her home—close to $5,000.

"We had a frozen pipe break," says Matt Plowman of Abbotts Fire & Flood/Cleanup & Restoration.

The warmth of the day meant a cool rush of water flooded several rooms in the Wheat Ridge home.

The homeowner did not want to be identified. She was out of town when her water pipes burst in two to three places.

"The damage started in the utility room, a frozen pipe burst, sprayed on the furnace and caused the heat to go out."

The lack of heat then caused a pipe to freeze in a bedroom--which burst--flooding down into a hallway, bathroom and living room.

"Over here we're dry. As we come this way that's all moisture," says Plowman, as he measures the wetness of the drywall with an infrared camera.

Crews went to work to dry out the basement.

They suck up the water, remove floor boards, rip out ruined padding, and dry out the carpet.

"Time is the key, if this were to sit wet three or four days, it could have mold growth, which takes something fairly easy to clean up, and makes it a lot more difficult," says Plowman.

It also makes it a lot more expensive.

Incredibly, a pipe just one-inch in size can lose 30- to 60-gallons of water a minute.

And homeowners can end up losing a lot of sleep.

Abbotts suspects the worst is yet to come.

"I suspect when people get home tonight ... come across frozen pipes and I anticipate tonight we may have 100 or more calls coming in," says Plowman.

If that group includes you, the best thing you can do is shut off the main water valve.

"What that's going to do, if that pipe does thaw, it's not going to allow continuous water pressure to flood the home. So anything that is in pipe will leak out of the pipe," he says.

With more cold coming, it might be worth warming up those pipes closest to the cold--like outside walls and crawl spaces.

Also, turn up the heat on your thermostat.

And open those cabinet doors under your sinks, so the heat from the room can keep them from freezing up.

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