What is a Hose Bib?
Hose bibs are called many things, some of which are a sill cock or simply a hose spigot. A hose bib is the outdoor water tap on the exterior of your home which is usually used to facilitate your access to water in your backyard, driveway, etc.
Why is it Important to Winterize my Hose Bib?
Without proper winterization of your hose bib a few things may happen. Because water expands when it turns to ice, you may experience cracks or leaks in your pipes or either the outdoor piece of your hose bib will burst, or the inside section between the handle and the valve seat will expand until the point of bursting from the ice build up inside. If it is the latter, you may not detect the problem until springtime. You could end up coming down to a flooded basement in April or your could experience other water damage within the foundation or walls of your home.
How do I Winterize my Hose Bib?
- Shut off the water to the outdoor faucet. Most exterior faucets have a separate shutoff valve inside the home.
- The next step is to remove and drain and hoses that may have been attached. Simply drape the hose over something like a fence post or mailbox so gravity helps in this process.
- Once the exterior water has been shut off and hoses removed, turn on the exterior faucet so any remaining water can run out of the pipes. Go ahead and tighter back up the hose bib.
Some hose bibs have a vacuum breaker attached to the hose end. Also known as a back flow preventer, a vacuum breaker is designed to prevent the contamination of your home’s drinking water. There are two different kinds of vacuum breakers.
- For vacuum breakers with a pin: located in the center of the valve where the hose attaches, push the stainless steel pin to the side and hold it in place until the water stops draining.
- For vacuum breakers with a black ring: pull the black ring around the vacuum breaker up until the water stops draining.
- You will then need to located the shut off valve in your home. Place a bucket or small container under the valve. You’ll find a cap or thumbscrew on the side of the shut-off valve. Remove it to allow a small amount of water to drain out.
When spring arrives, all you need to do is turn the shutoff valve on and your outside faucet will be ready to use.
We have already had our first freeze, is it too late to winterize/disconnect my hose bib?
Late fall or early winter is the time to prepare the hose. However disconnecting and winterizing late is better than not doing so at all. Unfortunately you will not be able to tell if any damage has been done until the temperatures rise in the spring.