Most of the pipes in your home are protected from the cold. They have the benefit of being insulated along with the house, and they get heat from the thermostat. This is important because when a pipe freezes, it can burst. Unfortunately, even if all your indoor plumbing is safe and warm, most people in cold climates have outdoor faucets that are susceptible to freezing. If you have a frozen faucet, you can call for a plumbing service like Roto-Rooter in Brooklyn, NY, and professionals can fix the problem. If you haven’t experienced freezing faucets yet, there are steps you can take to prevent any future problems.
The easiest and cheapest way to prevent freezing in your pipes is to drain the lines prior to the first freeze each winter. To do this, you’ll need to locate the valve that controls water flow to your outside faucets, which is usually located in the basement, and switch it off. Then open each outside faucet completely and let it drain. It is important to remove any hoses, splitters, or other attachments from the faucet to make sure it drains properly. If there is no water in the line, the pipes will not freeze. Unfortunately, not everybody has a basement with a separate valve for outside faucets, and even if they do, they might not know where it is, but there are other options for protecting outside faucets.
If you can’t shut off and drain your outdoor lines, the next best thing is to have a frost-free hose bib installed. This bib will completely replace your old faucet, and runs several inches into the side of the house where a shut off valve is located. This way, you create a valve for that specific faucet, so you can easily drain it each winter. Removing your old bib or spigot and replacing it with one that is frost free may be confusing; it may involve soldering, caulking, and general plumbing skills and knowledge. If you need help don’t hesitate to call for a professional install.
In addition to other preventative measures, it is wise to install insulation for each faucet prior to winter. Outdoor faucet covers are manufactured specifically for this purpose, and come in Styrofoam and insulated cloth sacks. These covers usually hook over the faucet to stay in place, so are very quick and simple to install and remove each year.