Winterizing Outside Faucets
Even More Safety Tips
The best way to minimize the damage from cold weather on outside faucets and fixtures is to do a little preventive winterizing. Faucet covers can be found in most hardware or home improvement stores and are very inexpensive and easy to install. Covers can usually be reused for several years so they are a good long term purchase. For just a few dollars per fixture you can winterize outside faucets quickly and then move on to other winterizing tasks.
These few steps will take a small amount of time but they could save you a lot of money and inconvenience due to leaks and rupture.
Disconnect Hoses & Attachments
Even if you have a frost free faucet, it is very important to remove hoses, couplers or splitters from the faucet prior to winter. Not removing hoses or any other connections can trap water and cause the fixture to freeze. It’s best to pre-empt the cold weather by disconnecting hoses early since even one night of freezing weather can cause a break in the pipes.
Inspect Faucets for Leaks
Check all faucets and other outdoor water fixtures for leaks and drips. If you do find any problems, repair or replace the fixture before the temperature drops to freezing. Water dripping, no matter how slowly, can block up and freeze in the pipe or fixture. Although a frozen outdoor faucet may not be apparent until the next season it may be possible to minimize the damage by repairing the leak before the winter.
Drain the Water Supply Line
Getting as much water out of the pipes is an important step to winterize outdoor faucets. The best way to do this is to shut off the valve serving the outdoor faucet and drain the line. Be sure to open the faucet on the outside to allow any remaining water to drain, and then close.
Protect & Insulate with a Faucet Cover
The last step to winterize outdoor faucets is to protect them with insulation. An easy way to do this is to install a faucet cover on each outdoor fixture including frost free faucets. Covers are square or dome shaped to fit right over outdoor faucets. They are made of thick foam so they are quite effective at keeping most of the cold away from the valve. Frost free faucets should be covered as well because although they are resistant to freezing they are not completely frost proof in the coldest weather. The rubber gaskets and washers inside the frost free hose faucets will benefit from the extra protection from the cold that a cover can provide.