Armchair Builder

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Faucets In Garage

It’s that time of year again . If you live in a cold climate and haven’t yet felt freezing temperatures, you are about to.  So, now is the time to make sure everything is prepared for the cold so you eliminate damage to plumbing or worse, damage to your home from frozen pipes.  As a home builder, one of the most frequent frozen pipes complaint I get is for exterior hose bibs (a.k.a. exterior faucets or sillcocks).  What do you think is the biggest reason sillcocks freeze?  If you said failure to turn off the valve on the inside you are wrong.  If we were playing Jeopardy, the question would be…What are hoses?  That’s right Alex.  I’ll try Home Maintenance again for $200.

Hoses that are left connected to exterior faucets have caused more frozen pipes for my customers than any other cause.  Most new exterior hose faucets or sillcocks don’t need to be turned off from the inside of the home for winterization.  Why?  Because these faucets have a long stem that goes back into the home to turn the valve off inside the home…so the water stops before it reaches the cold preventing frozen pipes.  They sometimes refer to these as frost free hose bibs or sillcocks.  So why do you need to remove the garden hoses from them?  You need to remove the hoses to prevent frozen pipes because the hose can trap water that has the potential to expand and cause the faucet body and/or pipe to crack and leak.

What about in your garage?  The picture above is from my mom’s house.  She has a hot and cold faucet in the garage and the “Y” hose connected to mix the water.  When I was home for the holiday, I made sure to remove the hose.  Even though the garage is unheated, it would probably be ok in all but the coldest of days.  But how about that day you are in a hurry and leave the house and forget to shut the garage door.  Or what if the snow and ice cause the automatic garage door to bounce back up and you don’t notice.  You could very likely have a mess on your hands from frozen pipes.

Verdict…remove the hoses from your exterior and garage faucets in cold weather to prevent frozen pipes.  And if you aren’t sure if you have the newer style frost-free exterior hose faucets (or sillcocks), be sure to turn off the valves from the inside.  Most of us are aware of the damage that frozen pipes can cause.  If we take a few simple steps we can prevent the hassle.

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2 Comments for Preventing Frozen Pipes

plumbing | March 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm

There is a less messy way, but it is also more dangerous. This uses a propane torch that has a flame spreader nozzle. One must be careful in handling this since this is extremely hot. One must wear protective gears and must remain cautious when he opts to do this. If not used properly, this might result to more damage to the pipe.

Frozen Pipes and Your Home: Prevention and Thawing- Armchair Builder :: Blog :: Build, renovate, & repair your own home. Save money as an owner builder. | January 7, 2014 at 6:11 am

[…] water that has the potential to freeze, expand, and crack the spigot.  Check out our article on Preventing Frozen Pipes for more information on exterior spigots […]