As you run out of town for the holidays, do not forget to protect your home plumbing system against the dangers of frozen pipes. ​As temperatures drop throughout the Washington, DC region this winter, many homeowners may be dealing with frozen pipes. Damaged and burst pipes often result in leaks that cause irreparable damage to parts of your home, including the ceiling.


6 Steps for How to Protect Outdoor Faucets from Freezing

  1. Remove the garden hose from the faucet. By taking this proactive step before freezing weather arrives, you’ll be ahead of the game and can avoid having to run outside to stow the hose in the middle of an ice storm.
  2. Shut off the upstream water supply valve feeding the outdoor faucet. Typically, you will find this valve several feet from the outside wall. Turn the handle to the valve in a clockwise motion until it stops. If it has a lever handle, turn the lever until it is perpendicular to the pipe.
  3. Drain any residual water from the faucet and pipe. This will ensure there isn’t any water left behind after shutting off the valve that could freeze and expand. If water continues to trickle out, even after you’ve shut off the upstream valve, replace the leaky valve.
  4. Install an outdoor faucet protector. A foam faucet cover offers an additional layer of protection to freeze-proof your faucet and pipes. You can find an inexpensive cover from hardware stores or online. Make sure the cover is securely in place over the faucet.
  5. Insulate the pipe leading up to the faucet. Purchase foam insulation to cover any exposed plumbing connected to the outdoor faucet.
  6. Install a freeze-proof faucet. If you’d rather not go through the hassle of properly winterizing your outdoor faucet and pipes each year, you can install a freeze-proof or frost-free faucet. Designed to function in freezing temperatures, a frost-free faucet will enable you to continue using the faucet year-round.


4 Dangers Of Frozen Pipes

  1. Risk Of Property Damage: Burst pipes result in water damage to parts or the whole of your home, including damage to your valuables. Not to mention the costs you incur for emergency plumbing services to mitigate the flooding.
  2. Risk Of Injury And Death: Frozen pipes can lead to basement flooding, increasing the risk of drowning, especially where young children and seniors are involved. It also triggers problems with your home’s wiring, which may eventually result in electrocution, house fires, electric shocks, and even death.
  3. Added Costs Of Repair: Emergency plumbing services can cost a lot as you have to meet the pipe repair cost, flood control, and the cost of cleaning up the mess left by the flooding. Remember, this is money that you never budgeted for. Therefore, there is a need to prevent pipes from getting frozen to avoid these expenses.
  4. Water Shut Off: Frozen water pipes mean you won’t have a water supply for days. Besides, if you are coping with burst pipes in your home, you will need to shut off the supply entirely to allow for repair. Scheduling water damage repair can take days, and as you wait for the repair company to fix the system, you will be staying without water.