While ice forms readily in water supply pipes leading to exposed outdoor faucets when temperatures dip to 28 degrees or below, water damage from frozen pipes may extend far into the home. Pipe ruptures due to freezing faucets outside typically occur inside walls. There, the consequences of potentially hundreds of gallons of water may affect the structure of the house, as well as your valuable possessions. To avoid this, prepare outdoor faucets for winter to keep all indoor and outdoor plumbing safe during the cold weather to come.
Preparing Outdoor Faucets for Winter
- Walk the perimeter of the house and locate all exterior faucets. Remove any attached hoses and drain residual water out of each.
- Inside the home, usually near the main water shutoff valve or the ceiling of the basement, locate the individual shutoff valve in each supply line leading to a faucet. These are always lever-style valves as opposed to standard faucets and incorporate a bleed cap to drain residual water out of the pipe.
- Turn the water off at the shutoff valve. Go outside and open the faucet; some water will drain out. Return to the inside shutoff valve and remove the bleeder cap to drain remaining water out of the pipe. Hold a bucket under the bleeder to catch the water. Replace the bleeder cap and close the outside faucet.
- Some older houses don’t have indoor shutoff valves for outdoor faucets. A competent professional plumber can retrofit the standard faucet with a frost-free faucet that allows you to leave the water on year-round. Alternatively, home centers stock faucet insulation kits that can be installed on the existing faucet seasonally and removed during the summer.
Avoid expensive water damage; prepare outdoor faucets for winter. For more advice to prevent freezing pipes in Chicago, contact Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical.
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