November in Indiana blows in mildly enough, but as the last of the leaves fall from the trees we know cold weather is ahead. As you finish raking and bagging the leaves there it is time to winterize your outdoor faucets in preparation for the first Indiana frost.
It takes just a few minutes, but it is well worth the effort. A frozen faucet filled with water can break the faucet; crack the pipes and or the pipe joints. Protect yourself from the expense and the headache in three easy steps.
Step One: Turn off the water to the outdoor faucet
Most outdoor faucets are connected to a shut-off value in your home. This valve controls the flow of water to the outdoor faucet. Usually, the shut-off valve is located in the basement, crawl space or utility room.
There are two primary types of shut-off valves; the gate valve and the ball valve. A gate valve looks a lot like a small wheel. Simply turn the wheel in a clockwise direction until it won’t go any further. If you have a handle coming from the top of the valve this is a ball valve. You will need to turn the handle so it is perpendicular to the supply line to shut off the water.
Step Two: Disconnect and Drain your Hoses
You won’t be watering the grass or washing off the deck once the temperature drops so it is time to put the hose away for the winter. Go outside and detach the hose from the spigot.
Water will expand by almost 10% as it freezes. This expansion can damage the hoses causing them to leak at the connections or develop splits. Taking a few minutes to remove as much water from the hose as possible will extend the life of the hose.
Finally store the hoses in a protected or heated space such as the garage, basement or tool shed till you need them next spring.
Step Three: Drain the faucet
You are almost done. Now that the hose has been removed open the faucet (also called the hose bib) to drain any water left in the pipe. This creates some air space to prevent water between inside shut from damaging either the pipes or values if it does freeze.
Leave the hose bibb open all winter long. Although it is unlikely, if your shutoff valve leaks and allows water to reenter the system it will not accumulate in the pipes.
If you have questions about winterizing your pipes or checking your furnace before the winter begins, give us a call.
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