NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Frozen water pipes aren’t just an inconvenience. When they burst, the damage can be devastating.

Nashville plumbers are preparing for the worst ahead of the cold blast expected to hit the area the evening of Thursday, Dec. 22 and last into Friday, Dec. 23, so they’re offering tips to protect your pipes.

“A lot of people always equivalate cold weather to running a steady stream of water through the pipes to keep the water moving to keep it from freezing, and that is true, but you also have to remember that cold air blowing through the crawl space is also just as dangerous,” said Robbie Kitts with Pioneer Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing.

According to Kitts, closing the crawl space vents around the house could save your pipes from freezing. In addition, make sure you have a proper door to your crawl space to block cold air from coming in.

“That cold air does blow through those vents, and most of the time you have plumbing lines on the other side of that, so when that cold air hits that line, that’s where a lot of your bursts are, normally closest to where air penetrates,” Kitts said.

Jimmy Morton — owner and president of Morton Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling — told News 2 you won’t know your frozen pipes are damaged or burst until they thaw out, which is why he expects most of his emergency plumbing calls to come in once things warm up.

“For the plumber, [repairing a burst pipe] is not so bad for the plumbing parts, but it’s the damage it creates,” Morton explained. “It can be devastating, and people could have to leave their house.”

If you’re leaving town for the holidays, turn your water off at the meter and turn every valve in your house to on and open to help protect your pipes from freezing.

If you’re home for the holidays, remember to check on your crawl space.

“Anytime you’re dealing with negative temperatures, you have to come out and check,” Kitts said. “Especially if you guys are at home, it’s very important that you guys come out, poke your head in the crawl space and just make sure you don’t see any spraying water, and if it’s happening on a hot line, you’re going to open the crawl space door and see a lot of steam.”

Metro Water Services has an online outage map. If you experience an outage and notice it’s not being reported online, you can call the MWS customer service line at 615-862-4600.