Here at Aggie Plumbing, we commonly receive two types of phone calls in the spring that are both the result of improper winterization of home plumbing systems. In this article, we will discuss some steps to take to ensure that you are not calling a service plumber in the spring after discovering freeze breaks that have occurred during the winter.
Tip #1: Unhooking Your Garden Hose
The first tip to prevent a plumbing mistake is a very easy one, but you would be surprised to find how often this is not done and requires a several hundred dollar repair in the spring season – unhooking your garden hose! Your outdoor faucet, also called a hose bib (See Fig. A), is manufactured in a way that prevents it from freezing during low temperatures. If it is installed correctly and a hose is not left on during the winter, you will experience no problems whatsoever.
However, leaving a hose attached during low temperatures, which we commonly experience even in the fall months in Colorado, is likely to cause damage to the hose bib and result in a voided warranty on the product.
When a hose is left attached to a hose bib and the temperature drops below freezing any water left inside the hose starts to freeze. This causes water to be pushed back inside the hose bib itself and freeze in there as well. The next thing you know, your hose bib has burst inside the wall – oops.
Normally you won’t notice this until turning it on to water your flowers in the spring and finding huge amounts of water pouring into your crawlspace or basement. As much as we love to visit our customers and fix their plumbing mistakes, we imagine you would prefer to skip this flooding experience entirely. So, take this advice – unhook your garden hose once temperatures start dropping below freezing!
Fig. A – Standard Woodford Brand Hose Bib
Tip #2: Blow Out Your Irrigation System
The second tip to prevent a plumbing mistake is a little more difficult, but also helps you avoid a similar freezing issue – blow out your irrigation system! Whether you have a drip system, a sprinkler system, or a combination of both, make sure to get them blown out before the first hard freeze of the season. Although most homeowners choose to hire a professional to perform this service, some homeowners prefer to do this themselves.
We hope that you find these tips helpful in preventing future plumbing mistakes. In our next blog, we will give you an overview of how to perform an irrigation system blowout yourself.