How To Winterize A Hose Bib – Avoid Disaster

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With the cold weather comes the need to prepare for winter’s cold grasp. To avoid having any burst pipes during the winter, make sure to know the steps on how to winterize a hose bib.

Once again, the winter months have arrived. Many people will be itching to hit the slopes or grab a hockey stick and hit the ice with some pals to enjoy the winter. Others would pull the blankets over their heads and wait for spring to arrive.

What Is a Hose Bib? 

The hose bib is the faucet or faucet outside your home. We sometimes call it the spigot. 

Why Do You Need to Winterize Your Hose bibs?

The ice can be too massive if water is inside your pipes and the temperature dips below freezing. It can even burst the pipe. The problem may not be immediately evident. But, water splashing outside is a vital sign of a problem. 

Call a local plumber right away if you observe water around the spigot or inside your home! Waiting too long to address the problem can cause serious harm to your house. 

Fortunately, preventing a frozen outdoor faucet is simple. It is not expensive to winterize your bibs, and you can do it yourself. You can save time, money, and frustration by taking a few minutes now.

What Happens if You Don’t Winterize a Hose Bib?

Any unprotected water pipe might rupture when the temperature dips below freezing. As water expands as it freezes, it may exert up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. A homeowner may face thousands of dollars in damages if a pipe bursts. Due to the low temperatures, it might be difficult to repair damaged plumbing in the winter. 

Because most home interiors are well-insulated, most indoor water pipes are safe. But, pipes in external walls are more susceptible to problems. As a result, you should disconnect, inspect, drain, and insulate your hose bibs as soon as possible.

How to Winterize Hose Bibs?

Before the freezing conditions approach, you must turn off the water supply. Drain hose bibs to avoid damage to the bib or pipes. Getting your hose bibs ready for the winter is a simple operation.

Repeat these instructions for each bibb you have in your house. (If your hose bibbs are frost-free, all you have to do to prepare them for the winter is remove the hoses.) 

What You’ll Need

  • Tools / Equipment 
  • Bucket of water (for draining excess water) 
  • Wrench (for any removals or repairs) 
  • Insulated outdoor faucet cover (one for each outdoor spigot) 
  • Materials for repairing faucets (as needed)

Step 1: Locate the Hose Bib

The first step is to locate the shut-off valve for the hose bib. Typically, it is in the basement, utility room, or crawl area. The next step should be to turn it off. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to switch off hose bibs for the winter. If it’s with a lever, it must be parallel to the pipe. But, if it has a handle, rotate it clockwise. 

There are many hose bibs in some homes. You must locate them all and turn them off. If you forget even one, you won’t be able to winterize your hose bib fully.

Step 2: Disconnect Hoses

Remove splitters, connectors, and hoses before temps begin to drop. Many homeowners put off this crucial step because they like using their hoses well into the fall. Because an early freeze might cause water to become stuck in a hose, it’s best to disconnect as soon as possible. Remember that a single night of freezing weather is all it takes for your pipes to burst.

Step 3: Inspect

Check your bibs, fixtures, and yard hydrants during the winterization process. Look for leaks in every part of your bib. Repair or replace it before the cold sets in if you notice one. Even the smallest leak can cause ice to build up in a pipe or fixture, causing it to become blocked. It may appear to be a minor issue. But, a timely repair might save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in the long run.

Step 4: Drain

If your hose bib isn’t freeze-proof, it’s a good idea to remove as much water out of the line as possible. If at all possible, turn off the water and empty the line. We can find a service bulb on almost every conventional hose bib. Look in the basement, crawl area, near the water heater, inside a kitchen or bathroom cabinet. It can also be near the home’s main water shutoff. Apply extra insulation if you can’t isolate the water supply to a specific hose bib. Frost-free hose bibs don’t need this step because they keep water away from the spigots’ ends.

Step 5: Insulate

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Insulation is the final step in preserving your outdoor faucets. The simplest method is to cover each outside fixture with an insulated bib cover. These are usually dome-shaped and fit over the top of outdoor faucets tightly. They keep frigid temperatures at bay thanks to their dense foam construction. If you cannot empty the valve, you will need to add more insulation to the top of the foam bib cover.

You have entirely emptied the water from your hose bibb, and it is now ready for the harsh winter weather.

Tip: Invest in Frost-proof Hose Bib

Prier P-164D04 Quarter-Turn Frost Free Anti-Siphon Outdoor Hydrant, 4-Inch
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Anti-siphon - vacuum breaker
  • 1/2" MIP x 1/2" SWT
  • 4-inch length

You can get a frost-proof hose bib for your home for enhanced security. Frost-free hose bibbs have a modest downward pitch and a shutoff valve inside your home. It keeps your tubes in good shape by preventing water from freezing in the pipes. Install frost-proof hose bibs if you don’t want to worry about freezing damage.

How Can You Tell If Your Pipes Have Frozen? 

It’s simple to tell if your interior pipes have frozen. There’s a good chance you won’t have any water running through your pipes. 

Here are some outside symptoms of frozen pipes: 

  • There isn’t any water flowing out of the exterior faucet. 
  • Frozen pipe
  • Odd odors from all faucets linked to the outside pipes 

If you see any of these signs, it signifies your pipes have frozen or are about to freeze. It’s important to unfreeze pipes as soon as possible. As stated, frozen pipes can cause significant property damage.

You’ll reduce your chances of damaging your entire plumbing system. It also extends the life of your pipes if you know how to drain hose bibs for winter.

Final Word 

Hopefully, you were able to finish this before the weather turned cold. Don’t worry if this isn’t the case; follow this winterizing technique immediately. If you have a shutoff valve installed, we recommend doing this for the “freeze-proof” hose bibs as well. Owners often fail to install a shutoff valve because they believe it will never freeze. We’d guess that “freeze-proof” hose taps account for most of the frozen hose taps we have to replace in the spring. 

We wish you all a wonderful winter!

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