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LifestyleRetirement

Winterize your house before going on vacation

Snowbirds planning their annual escape from winter shouldn't forget the ones left behind. No, not your family and friends - you can send them a postcard. It's your house that needs some prep work before you board the plane.

Rich Reinfrank, field operations manager for the Suffolk County Water Authority, passes along these tips:

Shut off and drain all outside faucets and garden hoses.

Wrap exposed pipes in unheated areas with insulation.

Set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.

And for those hunkering down on Long Island, if you find a cold snap has frozen your pipes, Reinfrank says don't panic and use an open flame to thaw the lines. As Reinfrank notes, water damage is preferable to burning your house down. Instead, use a hair dryer to slowly unfreeze the pipes.

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