Friday, November 16, 2007

Prevent Frozen Hose Bibb


Well, here it is again that special time of year everyone loves, winter. Winter brings with it so many special activities we enjoy so much, like keeping our home plumbing from freezing up. One of which is keeping our outside hose bibs from freezing up.

Virtually all of the newer homes today (and many older homes) have installed what is typically called a “frost-proof” or “anti-frost” hose bibb. These are designed so that they do not freeze up in the winter, and in fact they can even be used in the winter if so desired.

The way these work is that an anti-frost hose bibb it typically 12” long. They come as short as 8” or as long as 14”. The bibb (the part you hook the hose to and the handle) is attached to the end of a copper pipe with the other end having the valve seat with either a copper sweat or threaded connection. The hose bibb has a long stem inside, with the rubber washer (attached to the handle) which actually shuts the water off back inside the home (where it won’t freeze). When this is installed in the home, it must be installed, and anchored with an ever so slight pitch, from the inside to the outside. When the water is shut off, the water which is inside the hose bibb drains out, thus preventing the freezing.


However, if a hose is left attached to the hose bibb during freezing weather, the hose bibb can and probably will freeze up and burst. What happens is that the hose prevents the water from properly draining from the hose bibb; consequently, this allows the hose bibb to freeze up, and likely burst the hose bibb itself. The problem is that you won’t even know it until you use the hose bibb the next time (probably in the spring). As I stated earlier, the anti-frost hose bibb actually shuts the water off back inside the home, thus you won’t notice the leak until you use the hose bibb the next time.

Solution, when we start to get into freezing weather, like now, make sure that you remove garden hoses (or anything else) from your hose bibs. It is ok, if you want to hook up a hose for a last minute outside project in freezing weather, just make sure you remove it when you’re finished. I know with the holidays, getting the car ready for winter, and everything else going on who can remember a dumb little garden hose? Well, remember it now or remember it next spring when you go outside and wash your car and end up flooding your crawl space or basement.

If unfortunately you do have to replace your outside hose bibb I strongly suggest that you contact a licensed, insured and bonded professional plumber.

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