How To Prepare Your Home For Extremely Cold Weather05:27

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With nearly a week of freezing cold temperatures hitting parts of New England, Concord carpenter Rob Robillard has some tips for keeping your home safe.

Ice Expands, Pipes Don't

Robillard reminds homeowners that the volume of water can expand 9 percent when frozen.

"To avoid frozen pipes, homeowners should have adequate insulation where pipes run along outside walls, floors and ceilings," he says. "Disconnecting outside garden hoses, wrapping exposed pipes with insulating pipe sleeves, and sealing foundation cracks that let cold air all help."

What Pipes Are Most Susceptible To Freezing?

  • Water and heating pipes running along outside walls.
  • Pipes that run near basement walls or windows that have little or no insulation.
  • Pipes in crawl spaces.
  • Outdoor hose bibs.
  • Swimming pool supply lines.
  • Water sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes in an unheated house or structure.

How To Avoid Freezing Pipes

Build Well: Robillard says that a well thought-out building design (like on the interior walls) is the best way to ensure that pipes don't freeze.

Install Anti Freeze Exterior Faucets: "These outdoor faucets have a long stem that extends through the house wall and controls a valve inside the house, away from the cold exterior wall," he says. "Water doesn't stand in the portion of the pipe or faucet outside the wall where it could freeze."

Seal All Air Drafts And Leaks In The Basement: Even a small pinhole air leak can let air freeze an unprotected water pipe.


Robert Robillard, "the Concord carpenter" and columnist for The Boston Globe. He tweets @robertrobillard.


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