DIY Plumbing Tips Part 5
Winterizing Your Hose Bibbs
The beginning of winter is a stressful and cold time. There is a lot to do around the home to prepare for the cold weather and winterizing your hose bibbs should be on the top of that list. This simple act could save you a ton of money from damaged ceilings, flooded furnace rooms, and calling a plumber to repair the culprit: a burst pipe.
Older homes tend to have a lack of insulation, this, mixed with pipes filled with water can be a recipe for disaster. When the water in your hose supply pipe freezes and expands it can crack the pipe, then, when spring arrives the ice melts and water gushes through the burst pipe, flooding your home. Preventing this disaster is simple. Every outside hose bibb should have an accessible shut off valve featuring a small removable cap on its body. All you need to do is turn this shut off valve to the full off position, open your outside hose, and then remove the cap on the valves body allowing the water to drain into a bucket. Once all the water is drained from the pipe you can close your outside hose and you are ready for winter.
To find your shutoff valve simply follow the waterline back from where it leaves your home, you should find some version of the shut off valve on the line. In some older homes the valve will be located close to where the water line leaves the house and in newer homes it is often in the furnace room. Depending on the age of the home it may not have been required by code to install a valve to the outside hose, this unfortunately means that some builders chose not to install one.
In the spring, all you need to do is turn the valve back to the open position and open you outside tap until all the air is bled out of the line. If you cannot find a shut off valve, there is no drain on the valve, or there is no valve at all, give us a call and we will be happy to come out and install, find or replace your valve!