How to Winterize Your Exterior Faucets

In the sweltering heat of summer, Minnesota’s infamous winter weather transforms from a feared inevitability to a far-fetched pipedream. Yet every year it still somehow finds a way to sneak up on us, starting with overnight frosts. Before freezing season hits, make sure you’ve “winterized” your home to protect it from sustaining any cold-weather damage. Pipes that freeze during the winter are prone to bursting, which can be costly to repair and can even flood your house. If you follow these steps to winterize any outdoor faucets now, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to do it before winter sets in.

Step One: Disconnect all faucet attachments.

Failing to remove hoses, splitters, or other connections from your spigot can cause water to get trapped inside the fixture, making it more susceptible to freezing. It can be tricky to determine the best time to take this first step. You want to do it early enough that the first frost doesn’t beat you to it, but not so early that you still need to use your faucet regularly. It’s better to do it earlier rather than later because even one night of freezing temperatures can cause a pipe to freeze and crack.

Step Two: Seek leaks.

Any amount of water can freeze inside a pipe or spigot, so it’s important to discover even the smallest of leaks before they can cause serious damage by freezing. Check all hose bibs, hydrants, and any other yard water fixtures for leaks or drips. You will minimize damage by repairing or replacing the fixture now rather than waiting for spring.

Step Three: Drain pipes and cut off water supply.

Ensuring that all water has been drained out of your pipes is the most important step in protecting them from freezing. The best way to do this is to close the supply valve that provides water to your exterior faucet. In most homes, this valve is located close to the faucet.

Step Four: Insulate your faucet.

Covering your spigots with insulating material will keep them warmer and protect them from freezing conditions. You can purchase protective foam covers from most hardware stores. They are easy to install and relatively inexpensive—especially compared to the costly repairs of a burst pipe.

If you have any questions about winterizing your outdoor faucets or need to schedule a repair before winter sets in, contact Bonfe today to speak with one of our plumbing experts.

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