With cooler weather right around the corner, we all are thinking about what we need to do to get our homes ready for the dropping temperatures. Unfortunately, many people forget about their outside water faucets, resulting in bursting water hoses, hose bibs, or pipes when freezing weather arrives. So, what can help prevent this from happening?
First and foremost, you have to disconnect and drain water hoses and hose bibs. Even if you turn off your water source, you can still end up with a burst water hose or pipe if you forget to unscrew your hose and drain the water. Water expands when it freezes, so if it doesn’t have a way to drain as it freezes the pressure will build in your water hose and water line causing a rupture. If the cold temperatures last for a while, you may not realize you have a burst water hose or pipe until the weather warms. And, depending on where your hoses bibs are located, you might not notice the broken water line right away — leaving you with a high water bill.
Second, you can install frost- or freeze-proof hose bibs. A regular hose bib has a supply connection cut off outside the house leaving it directly exposed to freezing temperatures. A frost- or freeze-proof hose bib has a longer pipe (ranging from 8 to 24 inches) that goes into the basement or crawl space. The cut off valve is then located in the crawl space or basement where it is protected from the colder, outside temperatures. Remember, however, that the water hoses still need to be removed and drained.
Another thing you can do is install hose bib covers. Hose bib covers are square or dome shaped, made from a think foam, and fit over your outdoor faucets. Even if you have frost- or freeze-proof hose bibs, you can further protect the gaskets and washers inside them by using a hose bib cover. Adding an additional layer of protection is always a good thing.
So, although we are still having some warm, sunny days keep in mind that winter is right around the corner. Don’t forget to add your outdoor faucets to your winter-prep punch list once temperatures start to drop. A little upfront work and prevention will save you headaches and money in the future.