Experts from Erie Restoration and the Lafaro Insurance Agency said people should act fast when the first sign of water damage is spotted in their homes.

The president of Erie Restoration said Erie County was hit hard during the snowstorm after encountering extremely low temperatures. As a result, he said people are encountering frozen water pipes.

“Multiple businesses, schools and residential areas so it’s been all over. The phone’s been ringing off the hook, and right now, we’re just trying to get to people as fast as we can,” said Gary Oehling, president, Erie Restoration.

A local insurance agency said they are seeing extensive damage. The principal of the agency added that there are three primary exclusions everyone should be aware of but most people are only being impacted by one.

“Surface water is defined as any water (surface water) coming in from outside so that’s an overflow of a body of water a lake, a river, a creek or a water main break,” said Robert Lafaro, principal, Lafaro Insurance Agency.

If your home has been damaged by water, experts say time is of the essence when trying to minimize the damage to avoid hefty costs.

“Turn your heat up if you have supplemental heaters that are safe – run those. Get your air circulating so if you have box fans and things of that nature. If you have an automatic setting on your furnace that it runs regardless of whether the heat’s on, keep the air flowing,” Lafaro added.

Oehling also has advice for homeowners to help prevent freezing pipes in the future.

“Know where your water shut off is. If you’re going out of town for any length of time, even if it’s for a weekend, shut the water off — that’s the most important thing,” said Oehling. “It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to make sure your home is properly insulated. A lot of people have plumbing in their attics and crawlspaces and lots of times they never check on them because there’s no problem there.”

Lafaro added that if items in the home must be removed – try to preserve them in a shed or other location to show physical proof of damaged property.