It’s mid-October, and even though the temperatures in the Orland Park, Tinley Park, and Chicago Southwest Suburban region has been fairly mild, it’s time to start preparing for winter. It’s during this season that we want to start testing our furnace or boiler and schedule clean-and-checks with our local HVAC company.

But, one thing many people forget to do is to winterize your outdoor plumbing. Specifically, your garden hoses are attached to the spigot coming from the side of your house. Here are a few things you should start doing to prevent plumbing emergencies stemming from your outdoor faucet.

What’s a Spigot?

Just about every house has a spigot. Other words for this are sillcock, outdoor faucet, hydrant, or hose bib. Whatever you call it, it’s the shut-off valve that juts from the side wall of your home. It’s what allows you to supply water from your water main to your outdoor hoses.

Frozen Spigot

How to Prepare Outdoor Faucets for Winter

The most important thing to do is to disconnect your garden hose from the spigot. This allows the water to drain from the hose to prevent damage to the hose, and, more importantly, it allows the water to be removed from the faucet. Many homes also have indoor shut-off valves to the pipe leading outside. It’s a good idea to turn that off too to prevent water from being trapped in a place where the pipes can freeze.

When water freezes, the volume expands. It’s that effect that can stretch pipes to their breaking point. If you’ve ever watched the Incredible Hulk transform and the clothes rip as he grows, you’ve got an idea of what can happen as water expands. This can burst pipes and hoses causing costly repairs.

Another thing you can do is to place foam insulators over your faucets. An exterior faucet insulated slip-on cover is extremely easy to install, are quite affordable, and can save you a lot of headaches. To install, typically loop the drawstring over the valve, place the cover over the faucet, and pull the drawstring to hold it in place.

We recommend removing all the water from your hoses and storing them in the shed over the winter too to prolong their life.

While you are preparing your spigots for the winter, be sure to inspect them. If you need help with a leaky outdoor faucet, don’t hesitate to contact us. Leaking plumbing, particularly outside, can lead to many problems including damage to walls, floors, and more… particularly when the water freezes. Our experienced professional plumbers can help by replacing your sillcock with a high-quality functioning shut-off valve that will be leak-free and ready for action again in the spring.

Give DRC Plumbing and Sewer a call today at (708) 203-7057 to schedule a free in-home estimate for inspecting and replacing your outdoor faucets and plumbing today!

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