BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — With the arrival of winter’s coldest weather so far, some homeowners are facing big problems in the way of freezing water pipes and failed furnaces.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, a broken boiler as the cold snap sets in is the last thing the Smith family can bear.

“It’s cold in here, 56 degrees right now,” Smith said.

Utilities are making house calls across Long Island as temperatures plunge and homeowners worry.

“I don’t like the cold and dont like anyone suffering from the cold,” said one senior center resident.

“Winter is good if you are inside and have a nice little fireplace,” said another senior center resident.

After Superstorm Sandy wiped out the furnace at the senior residence in Babylon, a double boiler fix is saving the day.

“All new boilers, all new water heaters, all new equipment. But we still do maintain them, we still do check on them, we still have them serviced annually and checked constantly,” said Scott Lockwood, with Babylon Beach House.

Winter inspections of oil- or gas-fired systems run about $150.

A licensed and insured technician will change filters, check connections and system leaks and perform a digital combustion analysis for safety.

And with quick drops in temperature, poor insulation and thermostats set too low, pipes can freeze and burst, causing flooding, structural damage and possible mold. One small crack can leak 250 gallons a day.

“With the cold temperatures we have a lot of folks on stand by — folks on the phone, manning the phones. We know that there will be an increase in calls,” said Kathleen Wisnewski, with National Grid.

Experts suggest keeping the thermostat at a temperature that ensures water will move through the pipes — mid 60’s at a minimum — during a big chill.

Heating may cost a little more, but is still cheaper than paying for repairs on damaged pipes.

To keep pipes from freezing, experts suggest wrapping them in insulation or allowing a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is farthest from your water meter.

When using alternate heating sources such as a fire place, wood stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions and keep a fire extinguisher handy. It’s also an important time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

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