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Winterizing Hose Bibs: Dos and Don'ts

One thing every homeowner fears during the coldest days of the year is a burst pipe in their home. Thankfully most modern homes have plumbing insulation and siding that’s resilient enough to stave off subzero temperatures. That said, basements, crawlspaces and outdoor spigots are prime areas for concern, since they’re often uninsulated and prone to freezing. Hose bibs in particular.

Winterizing hose bibs is a must for homeowners, and should be a top priority as soon as temperatures start dipping towards the freezing mark. Make it a habit to winterize hose bibs as soon as you put your hose away for the season. Taking the time to prepare for the impending cold season will give you peace of mind when you wake up one day to find snow on the ground!

Common hose bib winterizing mistakes

There’s a right way and a wrong way to winterize hose bibs. Unfortunately, most people do it the wrong way without realizing they’ve left themselves open to problems. Here’s what happens.

Most people disconnect their hose, shut off the water in their basement and wrap a plastic bag around the spigot, taping it shut to seal it. While this might seem like enough, there are a couple of major flaws in this approach to winterization:
  • If you close the spigot before shutting off the water, there’s still water trapped in the plumbing that can expand when temperatures drop. The line isn’t clear.
  • If there’s water left in the line and it drips into the sealed plastic bag, it can collect there and freeze, damaging your hose bib’s connection, pushing back into your home.
The truth is, most homeowners get away with this incorrect winterization because the temperature rarely drops far enough for long enough to cause real damage to their hose bib. That said, it’s still important to do it the right way, to minimize any chance of frozen pipes or damage to your outdoor hookup.

The right way to winterize your hose bib

So, what’s the right approach to winterizing hose bibs? You’ll be happy to find that it’s as easy as you expect it to be and takes only a few minutes to complete correctly. Here’s what you should do, in the order you should do it:
  • Turn off your exterior water supply valve in the basement
  • Detach all hoses and hookups from the hose bib
  • Turn on the water and allow the bib to completely drain
That’s it! There’s no covering required and no special need to cap the spigot. Just complete these three simple steps in the right order to protect your hose bib against whatever Mother Nature throws at it this winter.

Do a quick inspection

While you’re winterizing hose bibs, do a cursory inspection around the area to make sure there’s no damage to your home or your plumbing connection. Look for signs of leaks, erosion around the concrete or soil, and any evidence of plumbing damage.

If you see anything worth noting while you’re winterizing, give us a call right away to make sure it’s fixed before the winter weather strikes. You can reach the PipeMasters: info@pipemasters.ca or (289) 404-9063.

PipeMasters is part of Oakridge Plumbing Ontario Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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