With winter temperatures throughout the United States averaging just above freezing, there’s a good chance you live in an area that’s susceptible to frozen outdoor faucets and pipes.
Of course, if you live in Alaska, that’s a given. But those risks are just as real if you live in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, North Dakota, Maine, Wyoming, Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and any other state in Midwestern, Northern, or Central regions.
No matter where you live, understanding how to winterize outdoor faucets helps you avoid costly repairs. Follow these steps to make sure you avoid damage caused by freezing temperatures:
Shut off valves
One of the first steps to eliminating the flow of water in faucets and pipes: cut off the source. You can do this by turning off valves that lead to outdoor faucets. Look for these valves in the basement (if you have one) or another interior area of your home that is unaffected by freezing temperatures. After you detect the right valves for outdoor faucets, turn them off in a clockwise direction.
Disconnect and drain
Another way to prevent trapped water from freezing is to disconnect and drain hoses attached to outside faucets before temperatures drop. Hoses and other devices that connect to the spigot can be stored in a basement, shed or garage.
Take precautionary measures
Many homeowners use frost-free hose bibs and insulation sleeves to cover pipes, but it’s not recommended to use them as a substitute for following instructions. It’s still vital to shut off valves, disconnect and drain hoses to avoid water getting trapped and frozen, damaging fixtures and pipes.
Installing a frost-free hose bib can be beneficial, however, because it replaces old faucets that are more susceptible to freezing. With the frost-free hose bib, you’re creating a valve for the faucet, enabling you to more easily drain it each season. While you may need professional help installing bibs, you can easily apply insulation covers over faucets each year and remove them during the spring.
Make necessary repairs
Another important step: check outdoor faucets for leakage, which could escalate into expensive repairs if left unchecked. Make sure you inspect faucets, hose bibs and other areas. Unsure if you are seeing true trouble spots? Contact Allen Plumbing for a comprehensive check and/or repair estimate.