BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — A major fear with the arctic cold temperatures Central Illinois is expecting later this week is frozen pipes.

This year alone, State Farm has paid out 9,000 claims from frozen pipe damage. The average cost of a claim comes in around $20,000.

“Once you get temperatures below 20° there’s a real risk of having a pipe burst,” said brand promotion specialist in State Farm’s Bloomington office, Heather Paul.

As area high temperatures won’t even approach double digits, Paul said the fear is real and all Illinois residents should heed precautions or risk paying a hefty price.

“In Illinois, since the beginning of the year, we’ve already paid out $10.8 million for approximately 635 claims,” Paul said.

Some easy things to do to help prevent this; keep your thermostat set at a minimum of 55 degrees, open your cabinet door to allow heat to reach the pipes, and most importantly leave a pencil-thin stream of water running overnight.

“Run a pencil-thin stream of water overnight. Running that pencil-thin stream of water keeps water moving through your pipes,” said Illinois American Water senior manager of external communications, Karen Cotton.

Cotton said while taking the preventative steps doesn’t mean your pipes won’t freeze, it greatly lessens the chance.

“Everyone in your home should know where the shutoff valve to the water is because if your pipes do freeze, you need to shut off that water before you start to thaw it out,” Cotton said.

Cotton said if customers are concerned about the running water running up their bill, she said it’s nothing compared to the amount of a major plumbing repair.

“We understand folks have concerns about running that water overnight and that it may increase their usage.; you can collect that water, you can use it for watering your indoor plants and things like that,” Cotton said.

As for insurance plans, Paul said most homeowners insurance plans cover burst pipe damage. But she said it’s a good idea to look over your plan.

“Understand and know what your deductible is, how much you’re going to have to pay out before your insurance kicks in,” Paul said.

If pipes do freeze, shut off the water supply and try to thaw them out by using a hair dryer.