10 Tips for Properly Draining and Winterising Outdoor Faucets

10 tips for properly draining and winterising outdoor faucets
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Erica Avelino

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As the chill of winter sets in, it’s essential to prepare your outdoor faucets for the colder months ahead. Failing to properly drain and winterise these fixtures can lead to costly repairs from burst pipes and damage to your home’s plumbing system. Here are some essential tips to ensure your outdoor faucets survive the winter unscathed.

1. Turn Off the Water Supply

Before you begin any winterisation process, locate the shut-off valve for your outdoor faucets and turn off the water supply. This will prevent water from flowing into the pipes and freezing during cold temperatures.

2. Drain the Faucet

After shutting off the water supply, open the outdoor faucet to allow any remaining water to drain out completely. Be sure to remove any attachments, such as hoses or sprinklers, to ensure thorough drainage.

3. Disconnect Hoses and Store Indoors

Disconnect any hoses attached to outdoor faucets and drain them thoroughly before storing them indoors for the winter. Leaving hoses attached can trap water in the pipes, increasing the risk of freezing and bursting.

4. Install Frost-proof Faucets

Consider installing frost-proof outdoor faucets if you live in an area with particularly harsh winters. These faucets are designed to prevent water from remaining inside the pipes, reducing the risk of freezing and damage.

5. Insulate Exposed Pipes

For faucets that are not frost-proof or in particularly vulnerable areas, such as unheated crawl spaces or garages, insulate exposed pipes with foam pipe insulation. This extra layer of protection can help prevent freezing during cold spells.

6. Use Faucet Covers

Invest in faucet covers or insulated socks to provide additional protection against freezing temperatures. These covers are easy to install and can help insulate outdoor faucets, reducing the risk of damage.

7. Seal Gaps and Cracks

Inspect the area around outdoor faucets for any gaps or cracks that could allow cold air to seep in. Use caulking or weatherstripping to seal any openings and prevent freezing temperatures from reaching the pipes.

8. Keep Faucets Dripping

On especially cold nights, consider leaving outdoor faucets slightly open to allow a slow drip of water. This continuous flow can help prevent water from freezing inside the pipes.

9. Monitor Weather Forecasts

Stay informed about upcoming weather forecasts, particularly in the lead-up to freezing temperatures. Take pre-emptive measures to protect outdoor faucets, such as covering them or allowing a slow drip, when temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.

10. Regular Maintenance

Perform regular maintenance on outdoor faucets throughout the year to ensure they remain in good working condition. Inspect for leaks, damaged seals, or other issues that could worsen during the winter months.

ensure your outdoor faucets endure the winter safely

Ensure Your Outdoor Faucets Endure the Winter Safely

Properly draining and winterising outdoor faucets is crucial for protecting your home’s plumbing system during the colder months. By following these tips, you can minimise the risk of frozen pipes, burst fittings, and costly repairs. Remember to take proactive measures, such as insulating pipes and monitoring weather forecasts, to safeguard against winter damage. By investing time and effort into winterising your outdoor faucets now, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your home is prepared for whatever the season brings.

Consider Hiring a Professional

If you’re unsure about how to properly drain and winterise your outdoor faucets, or if you simply prefer to leave it to the experts, consider hiring a professional plumber to assist you. A licensed plumber can assess your home’s plumbing system, identify any potential vulnerabilities, and ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to protect your outdoor faucets from winter damage. While it may require an upfront investment, the peace of mind and potential cost savings in the long run make it a worthwhile investment.