Keeping your home heated in the winter is essential to keeping your pipes from freezing during the cold winter months, but what can you do about the outside faucets? While keeping your home heated can certainly help prevent freezing in these faucets, it certainly isn’t the only thing you should be doing. As the temperatures drop in the winter months, the following tips will prevent them from freezing up and causing additional damage to the structure of your home.
What Can Happen?
If you previously haven’t thought about the potential problem of pipe freezing, now is the time. When temperatures drop below freezing, any water currently in the pipes has a chance of freezing into ice. When water freezes, it expands, which puts pressure on the pipes, potentially causing them to burst. Once the temperatures warm up and the water begins to flow again, you will experience leaks, which can contribute to water damage to the structure of your home.
What You Can Do
The good news there are a few simple things you can do to prevent these problems and ensure your pipes are protected from the plunging temperatures, no matter how cold it may get.
- Remove the Garden Hose. As soon as you are done using your garden hose outside in the fall, remove it from the faucet, drain it and store it away. Do this as early as possible so you don’t have to rush out and get it done during the first bout of freezing temperatures.
- Shut Off the Inside Water Supply. Every home has a valve inside the house that controls the flow of water to the outdoor faucets. Be sure to shut this off before the weather gets cold enough to freeze. Once this valve is turned off, open the outside faucets to allow them to drain completely. You may want to leave them open partially to allow for any unexpected water to drain without freezing.
- Install an Outdoor Faucet Protector. Foam is an excellent insulator. You can purchase foam faucet protectors to slide over your exterior faucets to help further protect them from freezing. These covers are available through online outlets and at most local hardware stores. They are relatively inexpensive as well.
- Insulate the Pipes. While some pipes may already be insulated, you can further protect your outdoor faucets by installing insulation on the pipes that lead to your exterior faucets. These foam covers can also be purchased online or in hardware stores.
- Consider a Freeze-Proof Faucet. Although these faucets are more expensive than using foam faucet covers and insulation for the pipes, a freeze-proof faucet can be an excellent investment to help prevent water damage in your home. These faucets are specially designed to resist freezing temperatures and keep the water inside the pipes from freezing and causing additional damage. You should still remove the garden hose in the winter and turn off the exterior water flow to ensure protection.
While there are simple things you can do to keep your outdoor faucets from freezing, you may still encounter a problem if you don’t take these steps early enough or forget entirely. If you do experience freezing in your faucets, be sure to contact your plumber as soon as possible to keep damage to a minimum.