BRICK - The bitter cold is causing an unprecedented amount of freezing and bursting pipes across New Jersey, officials say.
In several towns at the Jersey Shore, fire and police departments say they are responding to those calls in record numbers.
A home in the Normandy Beach section of Brick survived Sandy with minor damage only to be devastated by a freezing pipe that burst on the third floor, according to homeowner Tony Gaeta.
Gaeta says at least three pipes broke inside the home. "We came down the next day and walked into this," he says.
Water poured out from the windows and doors and pooled over the perimeter of the home. Nearby on Cutter Lane, two other homes had freezing and bursting pipes.
Brick Township officials say they have had 54 of these cases since Jan. 1. Seaside Heights had 36 and Toms River had a 73 calls.
Fire Safety Bureau Chief Kevin Batzel recommends that homeowners leave the heat on in unoccupied homes being rebuilt after Sandy or get pipes winterized by a plumber.
"We have a deep freeze now and people just didn't expect it to get this cold for this long, and they really didn't take care of the main issues regarding the freezing water in their pipes," Batzel says.
At the Toms River Yacht Club, just restored after Sandy, the heat was left on and a sprinkler pipe in the attic still managed to burst, damaging both floors.
The plumber says the attic was not insulated and a frigid draft blew in. "We spent last winter repairing storm damage and then this winter non-stop freeze damage," says Chris Schremmer, of Toms River Heating and A.C.
Schremmer recommends insulating pipes in unheated attics and garages and securing drafty leaks.
The American Red Cross suggests opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around plumbing. If you're away from home, thermostats should be set to at least 55 degrees.