Whenever you hear about bursting pipes, the picture in your mind is terrifying – ruined ceilings, walls and furniture along with the costs that you’ll have to spend on repairing the damage. One way to prevent such plumbing disaster is to do some preventative work now before the freezing temperatures strike.
You must have heard that your hose bibs should be shut off for the winter season. When it is below zero outside, any unprotected water pipes leading to a hose bib are prone to freezing. It is a well-known fact that water expands while freezes and produces a lot of pressure that has nowhere to go. As a result the pipe bursts and causes a lot of problems.
First of all, prevent freezing with thorough insulation and second of all, lessen pressure at the pipe ends, in this way you can prevent the burst and subsequent flooding.
A good place to start is with your hose bib. The hose bib is the tap located on the outside of your house where the hose is installed. Most likely there are a couple of them – both in the front and backyard. So as it was already mentioned water can freeze inside the tap and pipes, causing major damage and possible bursting.
The following simple steps could save you a lot of money and inconvenience in the future.
- Find the cut off valve
There is a cut off valve for the pipes that take water outside in every home. It is usually located in the basement by the other plumbing pipes.
- Turn off the valve
The valve for your hose bib(s) should be labeled if you are lucky. Simply turn off the valve that reads “rear hose bib” and “front hose bib”. If it is not labeled, follow the outside pipe(s) to the hose bib valve. Make sure that the valve is completely shut off. This will prevent water from leaking into the pipes.
- Detach the hose
Locate the outdoor hose and detach it from the outside spigot. It should be empty of water. While this takes time, the procedure will prevent the hose from freezing and bursting and you won’t have to replace it when spring comes. Drain the hose in small sections, chasing it along as you empty the water from it. Wrap up the hose and keep it in a garage or basement for the winter.
- Drain the hose bib
So you think it is done – you’ve turned off the water and detached the hose but there still may be water inside the pipes and they can freeze and burst. Prevent this by turning the tap of the spigot on and let the water get out. Continue until there is no more water draining from the spigot.
Installing a frost-free faucet (also called a sillcock) will help to reduce the necessity of turning off a hose bib in more temperate climates like Orange County. They provide a layer of protection by keeping the water away from the freezing air but they do not give a 100% guarantee. If you have any more questions on this topic, contact Orange County Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning and we will gladly consult you in this matter as well as assist in turning off your hose bibs.