Scenes from a February 2015 freeze: Water from a frozen pipe above creates an ice formation. Photo courtesy of Brian BroadleyPlumbers, water company crews and public safety personnel are still on the front lines in the battle of the bursting pipe in Ocean City.Amid a long stretch of near-record-cold weather, frozen water-supply lines are expanding and cracking, and as the weather rises above freezing (as it has on Wednesday), water flows freely through properties and often leaves damage in its wake.The problem is worst in homes that are unoccupied for the winter — with neighbors and public safety officials reportedly finding garages and rooms filled knee-deep with water that is still cascading from its source.Hundreds of homes have been affected, and the count increases each day. (Read more: Frozen Pipes Drench Ocean City in a New Kind of Flood.) After a brief thaw on Wednesday, sub-freezing weather is expected to return and stick around at least through the weekend.“It’s a longer, harder freeze than I can remember,” said Brian Broadley, owner of Broadley’s plumbing, heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration company.The water damage serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting properties from the harshest winter weather.__________Sign up for OCNJ Daily’s free newsletter and breaking news alerts__________We checked in with Broadley and Tony Wilson, owner of C. Leo Wilson Plumbing and Heating, on what property owners can do to avoid the risk of frozen pipes in the future in such cold weather:Heat your home: “Fifty-five degrees is not warm enough,” Wilson said. “You have to get it up to 65.” … “It’s much better spending a little more money on natural gas” than on repairing damage from frozen pipes, Broadley said.Let the heat reach pipes: Open cabinet doors or find other ways to vent heat toward pipes, particularly the ones that run along exterior walls.Leave water running: For pipes that run along exterior walls leave water running. Even a stream “the width of a pencil point” can help prevent pipes from freezing solid, Wilson said.Seal crawlspaces: Close access doors tight to the area underneath homes. Temporarily insulate flood vents to keep air and wind from entering. Wilson said piping insulation “works to a degree,” but without a heat source is not foolproof.Winterize your home: Drain exterior pipes to outside showers and consider having a professional drain other pipes if you don’t plan to visit during the winter.Remote-controlled thermostats: In homes with working wi-fi, new thermostat technology allows owners to regulate heat from remote locations.And the No. 1 tip: “Pray for warm weather,” Broadley said.