If you haven’t already winterized your outdoor faucets, you shouldn’t allow this task to go overlooked. If you live in Ohio, you probably know how important it is to remember to winterize your faucets, lest they freeze and damage your plumbing. Freeze damage can destroy your faucet, or burst a pipe! Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t seem to get this right. As a central Ohio home inspection company, we see the damage. Following these steps to winterize your outdoor faucets will take a little bit of your time, but save you money and inconvenience later on. The image above is the shut off to a hose bib.
Before anything else, regardless of what type of hose bib you have or whether or not it’s freezeproof, disconnect everything from the spigot. Remove hoses, splitters, and anything other connections. This is important because if not removed, these connections can trap water and cause the fixture to freeze. It’s also better to take this first step before the cold weather hits; even one night of freezing weather can cause a break in the pipes.
Next, you have to establish if your faucet is frost free or not. To know for certain, look up inside the spout. On a frost-free faucet, the only thing visible to you will be a metal stem. On a faucet that isn’t frost free, you’ll be able to see the valve’s components open and close when you turn the handle. This next step is not needed for a frost free faucet, as its design keeps the water away from the end of the spigot and, thus, the cold. You need to get as much water out of the pipes as you can. For a faucet that is not freeze proof, the best way to do this is to simply shut off the line and drain it down. If you cannot shut off the water supply, make sure you use extra insulation in the next step.
Lastly, protect your faucets with insulation. The easiest way to do this is to install a hose bib cover on each outdoor faucet. You should cover frost free hose bibs as well, because even though they’re resistant to freezing, they are not entirely frost proof in very cold weather. Hose bib covers are square or dome-shaped to fit nicely over outdoor faucets. Made of a thick foam, they’re very effective at keeping much of the cold away from the valve. If your faucet could not be drained, you can install extra insulation inside the hose bib cover to ensure it stays warm and dry. Usually, the hose bib cover itself will provide enough insulation.