Winter is coming and it’s time to get your house ready for the cold weather. It’s best to start early since there are many things to do before the temperature drops. However, when preparing for the season, homeowners often forget about their hose bibbs. This plumbing component, also known as a spigot or an outdoor faucet, connects your interior plumbing to your exterior plumbing. It allows water to run from the inside of your home to the outside.
Unfortunately, pipes are susceptible to freezing when exposed to frigid conditions so it’s important to keep them protected by taking preventive measures.
How to winterize your hose bibbs
Winterizing hose bibbs is a relatively straightforward task that most people can complete by themselves. Follow these simple steps to prepare your outdoor faucets for winter:
Remove your garden hoses. Disconnect your hoses in the fall, at least two weeks before the temperature drops to 0 C. Drain as much water as possible from your hoses. Clean and coil them before putting them away for the winter. Try to store them in a warm place, inside your home or in your garage, to increase their lifespan.
Inspect your hose bibbs. Check your outdoor faucets for signs of damage. To look for leaks, place your thumb over the hose bibb and turn the water on. If you can hold the water back with your thumb, you may have a crack somewhere that’s leaking water. A qualified plumber can help you to locate and repair the leak.
Find your shut-off valve. Your shut-off valve is located inside your house. It connects to a pipe that leads to your outdoor faucet. Check your basement, crawl space or utility room. Each faucet has an associated shut-off valve. Make sure you locate the valve for each of your hose bibbs.
Turn off the water supply. Once you’ve located each of your shut-off valves, make sure to turn them off properly. To close a wheel-shaped handle, turn it clockwise until it stops. (Think righty tighty, lefty loosey.) If you have a lever-shaped handle, turn it perpendicular to the pipe.
Open your hose bibbs. Once the water supply is off, go outside and open your outdoor faucets. The pipes leading outside will be full of pressurized water. Allow this water to drain completely. Keep your faucets open until you turn your water back on in spring.
Locate the bleeder valve. Return inside and find the bleeder valve underneath the shut-off valve. Loosen the cap. It’s normal to hear a hissing or gurgling sound as the air forces remaining water out of the line. Have a towel or bucket ready to catch any water that might come out of the valve. Once the hissing sound stops and there’s no more water coming out, replace the cap and tighten it.
Insulate your faucets. Place an insulating cover over each hose bibb. A properly installed cover should seal tightly around the faucet. Use spray foam to fill any holes around the hose bibb to help keep cold air out. Consider investing in frost-proof hose bibbs for added protection.
Why it’s important to winterize your hose bibbs
When the temperature drops, any stagnant water in your pipes will turn to ice. As water freezes, it expands and causes a buildup of pressure. The expanding pressure can cause your pipes to crack or burst. When the weather gets warmer, the ice in your pipes will melt and can cause flooding and serious water damage. Winterizing your hose bibbs will help you to prevent these issues and save you from the need to invest in costly repairs. Cracked, damaged and broken pipes are among the most common plumbing issues Ontarians face in winter. If you have a burst pipe, make sure to call an emergency plumber right away.
Emergency plumbing in the GTA
Black Forest Plumbing offers residential, commercial and industrial plumbing services in the Greater Toronto Area. We specialize in pipe repair and replacement. Our licensed plumbers are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you with your emergency plumbing needs. Remember, we fix it right or it’s free. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.