You don't necessarily need to live in an area where it snows to encounter frozen pipes. When temperatures drop below 20 degrees, outdoor...

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You don’t necessarily need to live in an area where it snows to encounter frozen pipes.

When temperatures drop below 20 degrees, outdoor pipes and pipes that are underinsulated or not insulated at all can freeze, according to State Farm Insurance. Freezing is a problem in warmer areas, where pipes often run through underinsulated or uninsulated areas like attics or crawlspaces.

Frozen pipes can cause breaks and result in major water damage to your home.

To help prevent frozen pipes, take these steps, according to the American Red Cross and State Farm Insurance:

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• Drain water from swimming pools and sprinkler supply lines.

• Drain outdoor hoses and store them indoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor faucets, drain the outdoor faucets and leave them open so water can expand without breaking the pipes.

• Check insulation on water pipes in unheated areas like the basement, attic, garage and crawlspace. Hot-water lines can freeze if water is not running through them.

• If the pipes are not insulated, think about installing pipe sleeves or heat tape on exposed water pipes. Follow manufacturers’ instructions.

• During cold snaps, let water trickle overnight from faucets served by exposed pipes. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature day and night.

• If you are leaving your home during cold weather, leave the heat on at no lower than 55 degrees.

For more information, visit www.statefarm.com/consumer/frozpipe.htmor www.prepare.org/basic/frozen.htm

Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or ntsong@seattletimes.com