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HOMEOWNERS ALERT : ACTION NOW CAN HELP PREVENT FROZEN PIPES

 BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Nov. 23 ~PRNewswire~ -- Each year, cold weather brings an unwelcome guest into a quarter-million homes across the United States: frozen pipes.
 And when pipes freeze, they often break, spewing thousands of gallons of water on floors and walls, furniture and appliances.
 The good news? Homeowners can often avert this catastrophe with easy preventive action.
 "Homes in nearly all parts of the country are susceptible to frozen pipes," said Dean Flesner, vice president for State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, the nation's largest home insurer. "The mess from a broken pipe can be incredible. Even an eighth-inch crack can pour out 250 gallons of water a day."
 Homes in warm-weather climates are most susceptible to frozen pipe damage, according to Flesner, because pipes typically aren't installed or insulated for protection from cold air. For example, a cold snap in California in 1990 caused one of the most-costly disasters in the state's history. Even more destructive was a 1989 freeze in Texas.
 In the past 10 years, State Farm has paid its policyholders more than $600 million in claims for frozen pipes. Yet, unlike destruction from tornadoes and other disasters, frozen pipe damage often can be prevented. Here are a few tips:
 Before cold weather hits:
 -- Insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing. Typically, these are near outer walls, in crawl spaces and in the attic.
 -- Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located.
 -- Disconnect all garden hoses. If there is an indoor valve, shut off and drain the water supply to outdoor faucets.
 -- Make sure all family members know the location of the home's water shut-off valve. If a pipe bursts, shutting off the water promptly can help minimize damage.
 If bitter cold is predicted:
 -- Open cabinet doors under sinks on outside walls to let in warm air.
 -- Let hot and cold water faucets trickle overnight.
 -- If no one will be home for several days, set the heat no lower than 55 degrees. Have someone check the home daily to make sure the heat is on.
 If your pipes freeze:
 -- Don't try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch.
 -- Be careful of electric shock in areas of standing water.
 -0- 11~23~92
 ~CONTACT: Jerry Parsons of State Farm Insurance Companies, 309-766-2625~


CO: State Farm Fire and Casualty Company ST: Illinois IN: INS SU:

MK -- PH025 -- 0603 11~23~92 13:50 EST
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Date:Nov 23, 1992
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