CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) — Frozen pipes are much more common in weather like this and how you deal with them can make all the difference.

Wilmette architect and builder Tony Perry urges his clients, family and friends every winter to take precautions to prevent pipes from freezing. WBBM’s Jim Gudas reports.

“Whenever the weather gets below say 10 degrees, I tell people it is always a good idea, especially if you are in an older home, to run the faucets both hot and cold water, just let it drip,” Perry said.

He said the slow flow of the water will help prevent pipes from freezing.

But if pipes freeze, Perry said you can try to thaw them using a hair dryer. While that could take hours, he said using stronger heat or an open flame could put too much stress on the pipes and make them burst. Plus, there’s also a possible fire risk.

“What you want to do is melt it slowly, that way it gets a chance to start dissipating its pressure. If you do it too quickly, you are going to force a small amount of area to expand and it has nowhere to go other than bust the pipe,” Perry said.