We blinked. Fall is here in Upstate NY! As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for the winter months. An often overlooked but crucial aspect of preparing your home for the colder months is winterizing your outdoor faucets. Failing to do so can result in frozen pipes and costly repairs come spring. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps to winterize your outdoor faucets and ensure they remain in excellent working condition when the cold weather hits.
1. Disconnect and Drain:
The first step in prepping your outside faucets for winter is to disconnect any hoses or attachments. Leaving hoses attached can trap water inside the faucet and pipes, leading to freezing and potential damage. Once disconnected, allow any remaining water in the hose to drain completely. Store your hoses in a dry place to prevent them from freezing and cracking during the winter months.
2. Locate the Shutoff Valve:
Next, in many newer builds most already have frost-proof faucets. This type of faucet has a longer stem so when the water is shut off, it’s inside the house away from the freezing temperatures. But if you have an older faucet, locate the shutoff valve for each outside faucet. This valve is usually found inside your home, often in the basement, crawlspace, or utility room. Turn off the water supply to the outside faucets by closing these valves. By doing so, you’ll prevent water from flowing into the exterior pipes, reducing the risk of freezing.
3. Drain the Faucet:
After shutting off the water supply, it’s essential to drain any water remaining in the outside faucet and pipes. To do this, simply open the outside faucet. Leave it open throughout the winter to allow any residual water to escape. This step is crucial as trapped water can expand when frozen, causing pipes to burst.
4. Insulate and Protect:
To provide extra protection against freezing temperatures, consider insulating your outside faucets. You can purchase foam faucet covers at most hardware stores. These covers fit over the faucet and provide an additional layer of insulation to prevent freezing. Make sure to secure them tightly.
5. Check for Leaks and Repairs:
Before winter arrives, take a moment to inspect all your outside faucets for leaks or damage. The last thing you want is air getting in and freezing your pipes that way. If you notice any issues, address them promptly with insulation tape or covers. Even a small leak can result in significant problems when freezing temperatures hit.
6. Consider Frost-Free Faucets:
Out with the old and in with the new! If you’re renovating or replacing outdoor faucets, consider installing the frost-free or freeze-proof faucets, mentioned above. These specialized faucets have a longer stem that extends into the heated interior of your home, preventing freezing in the exposed portion of the pipe.
You can find these pipes at your local or chain hardware store, like this 12 in. Full turn frost proof wall hydrant
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Remember don’t get flooded!
The AARP highlights in their article “6 Fall DIY Home Projects That Can’t Wait: Get ready for winter by checking gutters, pipes, heating systems“ that “data from the Insurance Information Institute shows that almost 30 percent of homeowners insurance claims were related to water damage and freezing.” Don’t let this happen to you!
Prepping your outside faucets for winter is a relatively simple but essential task that can save you from costly repairs and plumbing emergencies down the road. By disconnecting, draining, and insulating your faucets, you’ll ensure they remain in good working condition throughout the cold season. Don’t forget to turn off the water supply and keep the faucets open to allow any trapped water to escape. With these steps, you can rest easy knowing your outside faucets are protected and ready to withstand winter’s chill.
Image by Dragana_Gordic on Freepik