Now is the time to start thinking about protecting the outside of your home for the winter. When the temperatures start to drop, your outside faucets can become frozen. If you want to avoid these hassles, you need to take a proactive approach. Here are eight tips to prevent these faucets from freezing.
1. Install Frost-Proof Faucets
You may want to switch out your traditional faucets for frost-proof models. These faucets are specially designed to prevent water from freezing in the fixture. Unlike standard faucets, the faucet has components that extend into your home. As a result, most of the faucet stays protected from the harsh cold. Once the tap is turned off, the water drains from the exposed part of the pipe. This feature helps homeowners make sure that there is no moisture that could freeze in the frigid temperatures. With frost-proof faucets, you can be confident that your plumbing will remain safe and secure, even in sub-zero temperatures.
2. Insulate Exposed Pipes
Exposure to extremely cold temperatures is one of the reasons behind frozen pipes. When water freezes, it expands. In turn, that causes pipes to burst, leaving you with costly damage to your home. To prevent this from happening, you need to identify any exposed pipes that lead to your outside faucets. After that, you will want to insulate them with pipe insulation sleeves. These sleeves are easy to install. They provide a barrier against the cold, helping the faucet maintain a consistent temperature.
You may also want to pay attention to pipes in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and garages. These spaces have a higher freezing risk. Make sure that all pipes are adequately insulated to minimize the risk of freezing. Additionally, you also want to inspect and replace insulation as needed. Over the season, the insulation can start to degrade and lose its effectiveness.
3. Disconnect and Drain Hoses
During the winter, you never want to leave any hoses outside. Water can become trapped in the hose and freeze. That frozen water can push into the faucet and plumbing, causing damage. For that reason, you want to disconnect them and drain any residual water. Once that is done, coil the hoses and store them indoors to protect them from the harsh conditions.
4. Keep Faucets Dripping
Since running water is less likely to freeze, you will want to have the faucets dripping slightly during extremely cold nights. With some water movement through the pipes, it is more difficult for the water to freeze. However, this method works best for traditional faucets that don’t have a frost-proof design. While it may slightly increase your water bill, the cost is minimal compared to potential expenses associated with burst pipes and repairs.
You just need to set it to a slow drip. This technique is useful during severe cold spells when temperatures are expected to drop. If you’re unsure whether your pipes are at risk of freezing, consult a professional plumber for advice.
5. Install Outdoor Faucet Covers
There is another easy fix for your faucet. You may want to use an outdoor cover. These faucet jackets or socks are very simple to install. You just slip them over the pipe. These covers are made from insulating materials, such as foam or thermal fabric. They provide an extra layer of insulation. In turn, that can help to retain heat and shield the faucets from the biting cold. Along with that, this extra insulation can also help you save money on your heating bill by reducing heat loss through your pipes.
You will want to choose waterproof covers. With that, they can prevent moisture buildup. If moisture gets trapped inside the cover, it can freeze and cause damage to your faucet. Make sure to check these covers for wear and tear. If they are old or damaged, replace them to make sure they continue to provide adequate protection.
6. Seal All Gaps
If you have outdoor faucets, look for gaps or cracks that could allow cold air to reach the pipes. These openings can make your pipes more susceptible to freezing and bursting. Adding some caulking or weather-stripping is a great option to seal any gaps or cracks you find. If you don’t know where to check, inspect the holes where pipes enter your home. These entry points are vulnerable to drafts. By sealing these openings, you will have a more insulated environment for your outdoor plumbing.
However, this is not a one-and-done process. You may want to periodically check and reseal these areas as needed, especially after extreme weather conditions. With that, you can make sure your pipes stay protected and in good working condition.
7. Install Heat Tape
Another solution to the frozen faucet dilemma is heat tape. This tape has an electrically powered cable that wraps around the pipes. When the temperatures start to drop, it provides gentle heat to keep the fixtures from freezing. If you plan to install this tape, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a safe installation. Heat tape is a reliable solution for extreme cold conditions. It can offer peace of mind during the winter months. Like most of these options, you will want to inspect the heat tape regularly. If there are signs of damage, replace it immediately.
8. Monitor the Weather
Knowledge is a powerful tool in preventing frozen faucets. When you stay informed about upcoming weather conditions, you can take preemptive action to protect your fixtures. For example, if there is a severe cold snap on the horizon, consider shutting off the water supply to your outdoor faucets and draining any remaining water. With that, you can avoid last-minute emergencies and protect your plumbing system. During the winter, always keep a close eye on weather patterns.
Freeze Protection for Outdoor Faucets
On extremely cold nights, you can also wrap exposed pipes with insulating foam, blankets, or towels. Make sure to secure them to prevent water infiltration.
If you want to warm up those vulnerable areas, you can place a heat lamp or portable heater in those spots. You can also use an underground heating cable to surround the pipes for more controlled heat. Don’t forget to keep cabinet doors open under sinks, especially if they are connected to exterior walls. With that, you can allow warm air into that space.
If your home has a crawl space, close foundation vents during winter to minimize cold air entry. Additionally, you may want to regularly check for leaks and apply insulation directly to outdoor fixtures. Regular maintenance and vigilant checks throughout the season will make sure your faucets stay frozen-free throughout the winter.
If you want to protect your outdoor faucets in your Denver home, contact the team at High 5 Plumbing. Our licensed plumbers can find the right solution for your home. Along with repairs, replacements, installations, and maintenance services, we offer a wide range of services, including drain cleaning and hydro-jetting. When you need a trusted source for your plumbing needs in the Denver area, contact High 5 Plumbing today.