As the fall season winds down and we enter the winter months, this is your cue to winterize your home’s hose bibs before freezing temperatures hit. This type of maintenance is done so your pipes do not freeze in the winter. Here’s how it works: if the line is full of water, it freezes. That frozen water expands and bursts the pipes. You might not even notice any water damage until warmer weather arrives. To protect your home from burst pipes and costly repairs, you will need to complete a three-step process. Before starting, please locate the two hose bibs in your mechanical closet and look at their positions. They are labelled and tagged, making this process very easy. They indicate whether the line is for the rear of the house or the front of the house. The front hose bib will be in the garage; the rear hose bib will be on the back of the home.
1. Start in your mechanical closet.
We're in the summertime. Obviously, your hose bib is on—you're using it to water your lawn. The first step is very simple. You turn the handle back to the perpendicular position. That turns off the waterline.
2. Next, head to the hose bib in your garage.
When you open it up, turn it counterclockwise all the way to the left and leave it open. You could see a couple of drops of water. At times, you may get either a substantial amount of water or very little. Either way is fine. This hose bib remains open for the entire winter until springtime.
3. Finally, head back to your mechanical room. Here we complete the process.
The third step involves the bleeder valve, or the small wheel on the side, as it releases the back pressure on the line. So even though you've opened the valve upstairs, some of that water still may be in the line. It's like when you put a straw in a drink and you pull the straw out and then you release your finger, the remainder of the water releases. Turn the valve to the left. You will probably hear a gurgling sound. That's the remainder of the air forcing the water out of the line. Once that's done you may start to see this couple of drips, indicating the process is complete. Tighten as much as possible without using a wrench. Do not use a wrench on these valves. Being plastic, you might easily twist them off with a wrench, causing irreversible damage. A few drops of water is normal but if you see a steady flow of water, you likely have a bigger problem. If the valve leaks or you experience a solid flow of water, check to see if it is closed tightly enough. If it will not stop leaking and you are under warranty, call us. If not under warranty, you may need a professional to come out and assess what is going on with the valve.
Keep your hose bibs winterized in this closed position until we are consistently in the 60-degree range during the day. When turning on your water for the season, you want to make sure temperatures are not freezing at night. With the arrival of Spring, all you have to do to turn the valves back on is slowly return them to the parallel position. And then you're ready to wash your car, water your lawn, and enjoy the outdoors.