EVART \u2014 Temperatures have been dropping and may continue to dip into the single digits or below zero over the next week. With the continuous cold, officials offer tips to prevent pipes from freezing, as well as helping frozen pipes thaw. According to the American Red Cross\u2019 website, redcross.org, water expands when it freezes, putting pressure on plastic or metal pipes and causing a break. Pipes freeze more frequently when exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor lines, are in unheated interior areas\u00a0or\u00a0run against exterior walls with little or no insulation. The Red Cross suggests homeowners keep garage\u00a0doors closed if there are water supply lines inside, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing\u00a0and allow\u00a0cold water to drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipes helps prevent freezing. \u201cThe best thing is running a stream of water,\u201d said City of Evart Department of Public Works Director Mark Wilson, noting the amount of water only needs to be the size of pencil lead. Wilson\u2019s department, as well as DPW in Big Rapids, has been keeping track of temperatures and frost levels in the ground\u00a0to determine if and when a run water notice would be necessary. \u201cYou can look in a manhole and estimate the depth of the ground frost,\u201d said Big Rapids City Manager Mark Gifford, noting the temperatures and frost are\u00a0not low enough to warrant a notice to run water yet. \u201cWe will continue to monitor the frost levels.\u201d While city residents may be concerned about an increase in their water bills from running a steady stream on cold days, Wilson said the cost of repairing a burst service line is much higher. \u201cThe cost of repairing a service line far outweighs\u00a0the cost of running the water,\u201d he said. In addition to running water, homeowners can keep their thermostat set at the same temperature for the day and nighttime hours. If the pipes do freeze, the Red Cross suggests keeping the water on\u00a0and applying heat to the affected area with materials such as an electric heating pad or towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device to thaw pipes. If a city resident suspects their pipes are frozen, Gifford said DPW workers may be able to help, or families could call a licensed plumber.