Winter is coming…
No, this is not a website dedicated to Game of Thrones fans (sorry to disappoint some), instead it the ultimate guide to prepping your house and grounds for the harshness of winter.
Winter brings with it many joys, think Christmas, warm fires and mulled wine, but it also brings its fair share of challenges.
Outside faucets can be a real issue, especially as freezing or bursting pipes or faucets can be expensive to fix and cause knock-on damage.
How-to Guide to Prepare your Outdoor Faucets for Winter
Outside faucets are extremely useful, whether it be for connecting sprinklers or washing your car.
However, they can also be a point of real vulnerability in the winter, as the metal cools and frost starts to build.
Freezing pipes can cause great problems, especially once the ice starts to thaw as Spring rolls around. Hence it’s important to take the time to winterize your outside faucets once summer ends, in preparation for the coming winter.
There are a number of ways to do this.
- Disconnect your garden hose
This is the first step. Simply disconnect the hose from the faucet and store it away for the winter. If you don’t you will get the build-up of ice and won’t be able to complete any of the other crucial preparation steps.
- Check if it actually needs to be winterized
Some outdoor faucets will have the valve actually installed inside your house, where it is nice and warm and protect from the elements by thermal insulation.
There is no risk of these freezing over, even though the faucet knob may be outside the house. However, if the valve is outside the house then it most likely will need to be winterized.
- Get winterizing
To winterize standard sillcock outside faucets, there are a number of steps to follow.
Firstly, you will need to locate the water supply to the faucet inside the house, then turn off this valve and then open the outdoor faucet to drain out the water.
You will also need to open up the bleeder cap inside the house, and then wait for the water to drain whether through the cap or the outside faucet, depending on the pipe pitch.
If water is left lying in this pipe it may rupture as it expands when it freezes, causing untold damage.
- Finish up
Once you are done simply replace the bleeder cap, keeping the valve shut, and turn off the outside faucet.
If there is a non-return flow valve or a vacuum breaker installed then it could complicate matters a bit.
You should make sure there is no water trapped in this component, as even the smallest amount of water could be enough to cause a leak in the system once it freezes, and components like these are particularly vulnerable.
Once you’ve done all this it should give you the peace of mind that your faucet is ready for the winter. Then it’s time to just batten down the hatches and wait for spring to arrive!