Although outdoor water systems—including faucets and water fixtures—can be easy to forget about during the colder months, it’s important to take the right precautions to prevent both outdoor and indoor water systems from freezing. Take these steps to keep your water running smoothly this season.
Winter Proof Your Faucets And Fixtures
Unscrew Hoses From Outdoor Faucets
Leaving garden hoses attached to outside faucets is a surefire way to freeze your outdoor faucets. This is because the hose will stay full of water and begin to freeze. As the water freezes, it pushes itself further down the faucet into the pipe running to the faucet. As ice continues to form and pressure continues to build, the water supply pipe under your home will eventually give out from the water pressure. That’s why it’s extremely important to unscrew hoses from outdoor faucets before temperatures drop, even if you have a frost-free faucet. After unscrewing your hose, shake out as much water as possible and store it indoors to keep debris out.
Drain Outdoor Supply Lines & Pipes
Be sure to drain the following water-supply lines and pipes:
- Outdoor irrigation lines
- Pond and fountain tubing
- Pool and hot-tub supply lines
- Automatic outdoor water lines
- Greenhouse and gardening hoses
Install Shut-Off Valves
An easy way to shut off outdoor water fixtures is to have a professional install shut-off valves that you can control from the indoors (usually from a basement or crawl space). Shut-off valves are also helpful in case of an irrigation leak, since they allow you to shut off the water system without shutting off your water main or well pump.
Install Frost-Free Faucets
Frost-free faucets have a drainage hole and a sillock that prevent water from staying in the most freeze-prone area of the faucet, thus protecting supply lines from freezing and backflow.