What’s on your mind as you find that temperatures below zero are on their way when you constantly check the weather forecast? Yes, some of you would definitely think about your pipe condition. It’s because frozen pipes are the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with.
As a homeowner, you’d need to learn how to protect outside faucets from freezing and causing significant difficulties for your home’s plumbing system to avoid a worst-case situation in the first place.
Generally speaking, you can keep your exterior faucets and pipes from freezing and breaking by taking the necessary precautions. Continue reading to learn about simple precautions you can take to ensure that your exterior plumbing is protected from freezing during the coldest months of the year.
Why You Need To Freeze-Proofing Your Outdoor Faucets
Even though the vast majority of pipes in a home are well-insulated against the cold and your heating system would be constantly operating, pipes and plumbing systems that are linked to any external faucets are particularly sensitive to frost damage.
There is a danger that the water inside your pipes will freeze and expand whenever the temperature outside drops below freezing. This could result in burst pipes and the worst water damage to your properties. These would affect the functionalities of the related system and comfort while you’d likely have to deal with extensive repairs and renovations.
Fortunately, by knowing how to freeze-proof outdoor faucets, you may prevent having to call for emergency plumbing services due to frozen pipes. All systems required to survive the cold weather would work perfectly and there would be no unplanned expenditure for any repair or replacement.
Protecting Your Faucets from Freezing Step by Step
Keeping outdoor faucets from freezing is no rocket science but diligent practice from a house owner or property manager would be required. We’ve summarized steps you can follow to protect faucets from freezing even in the coldest winter.
- Cut Off The Water Supply
The homeowner must turn off the water supply valve that is feeding the outside faucet from upstream. This valve is often located several feet away from the exterior wall. Turn the valve handle in a clockwise direction until it comes to a complete halt. When using a lever handle, be sure that it is parallel to the pipe if it has one. Cutting off the water supply is a very important step to prevent frozen blockage.
When water freezes, it expands, and if this frozen water can’t go anywhere, it will likely destroy anything that is preventing it from expanding. In order to avoid this terrible scenario during the cold winter months, it is critical that the valve that allows water to flow into the faucet be closed at the end of fall or before winter actually comes.
- Drain The Faucets and Plumbing System
Draining any remaining water from outdoor faucets, pipes, and plumbing systems is essential for strong reasons. This will ensure that there isn’t any water left in the pipe or plumbing system after the valve has been shut off, which could cause it to freeze and expand.
After you’ve turned off the upstream valve, you can now open the faucet to allow water to drain out and fresh air to enter. When you turn off the faucet, the air supply will ensure the remaining water in the faucet has enough room to grow after it’s been shut off.
If water continues to seep out even after the upstream valve has been shut off, it’s time to repair or replace the faulty component. Ensure these ideally in the fall so you’d be ready in winter. Neglecting leaky upstream valves can cause pricey plumbing replacements as the summer comes.
- Disconnect All Hoses
The garden hose should be disconnected from the outdoor faucets before entering the winter season. Preventing ice storms from occurring by taking this preliminary precaution will ease your job in the winter. These will also prevent you from having to dash outside to store the hose when the ice storm strikes your area.
- Put Faucet Covers and Insulations
Installing faucet protection for your outside faucets is highly advisable. A foam faucet cover adds an extra layer of protection to the exposed pipes or faucets. These would keep them from freezing in the coldest winter. Hardware stores and the internet are good places to look for a low-cost cover. Check to see that the faucet cover can be securely fastened to the faucet.
On the other hand, ensure that the pipe coming up to the faucet is properly insulated. To protect any exposed plumbing connecting to the outdoor faucet, foam insulation should be used. Today, there are many faucet covers and foam insulation products available in the market. Your investment would save you from costly damages for sure.
Installing insulation around each faucet before the winter season is recommended aside from preventative measures. Outdoor faucet covers are made expressly for this purpose and are available in a variety of materials, including insulated cloth or foam. These covers are normally secured in place by a hook that hooks over the faucet, making them extremely quick and simple to install and take off.
- Install freeze-proof faucets
If you have multiple faucets installed in your outdoor area, then these could be tedious tasks. Instead of going through the difficulty of winterizing your outside faucet and pipes every year, you may invest in installing freeze-proof faucets to save yourself the trouble of doing so. A frost-free faucet, which is designed to perform in freezing temperatures, will allow you to use the faucet all year long.
The use of a frost-free bib is also recommended if you need these faucets flowing water even during winter. When installed, this bib will entirely replace your previous faucets or spigots. It allows you to create a valve for specific faucets or spigots, which will allow you to drain it more effectively every time winter comes.
- Install Heating Cable
Even though heating wires might be expensive in locations with high electricity bills, they can be an immensely effective way of preventing any and all possible pipe-freezing problems. A standard pipe heating cable can be used in conjunction with a tool that is specifically intended for this purpose to directly heat the pipe.
These heating cables also frequently have functioning lights to let you know when they’re turned on, as well as thermostat-controlled operation to ensure that they’re only turned on when they’re needed. The use of heating cables becomes more important if you need those outdoor pipes constantly working during the cold winter.
What If Your Outdoor Faucets Freeze?
The freezing can potentially wreak thousands of dollars worth of damage in a short period of time for either repair or replacements. Sections that have been damaged by frozen water may bloat, crack, or explode, resulting in significant water leaks that would freeze and expand. Whenever left untreated, the consequences of a ruptured pipe might be far more severe.
Undetected water leaks, like ones that happen inside the walls, can result in rotting wood or other construction components, as well as the formation of mold. A typical problem that causes up to 1/5 of all property damage claims is frozen pipes. The majority of claims resulting from burst or frozen pipes cost tens of thousands of dollars for repairs and/or replacements.
When You Should Winterize Your Faucets and Pipes?
Pipes inside and outside your home are at risk of freezing when the temperature outside dips below 0 degrees Celsius in the winter. The ability of pipes to freeze and defrost without causing damage is possible. However, the frozen water inside the pipe can expand, which would increase the pressure inside the pipe, which may result in a pipe burst. That’s the potential(or even obvious) damage your faucets and plumbing system can experience without proper winterizing.
Homeowners who experience consistent subzero weather are more prone to experience frozen pipes. The faucets, pipes, plumbing systems and water lines that are exposed to more cold air are more likely to freeze as a result of this.
Upstream or supply lines installed outside of your walls, as well as pipes within exterior walls, are typically susceptible to freezing if they are not properly winterized. The greater the distance between a pipe and your home interior, the more frozen they are.
While you can heat your interior, there’s no way to apply the same thing to your exterior. That’s why a series of preventive steps need to be done in the fall to prepare for the extreme upcoming winter.
If you reside in a region with a consistently cold winter, you should be seeking a dependable method of avoiding your exterior faucets from freezing while still allowing you to use them fully when necessary. You should be well-prepared to locate a good solution if you take into account your requirements as well as the tips we’ve mentioned above.