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How to Winterize Outdoor Faucets in 4 Easy Steps

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Why You Need to Winterize Your Outdoor Faucets

Now that the fall season is here, we know all too well that winter and freezing temperatures will be upon us before we know it. Anyone who's lived in the Chicagoland region for at least one winter season knows how cold it can get here and how important it is to make sure that plumbing is winterized before the first freeze of the year. But if you're new here, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about!

Here's the lowdown on the importance of winterization in a nutshell:

When water freezes, it expands. This means that if there's any water left in your pipes when temperatures dip below around 20 degrees, the expansion of that water as it turns into ice may cause the pipe to break, leaving you with a huge problem in the spring. To avoid damage inside and outside of your home from a water leak when all of that ice thaws, it’s a good idea to winterize outdoor faucets, pipes and plumbing well before that first freeze.

Here are the steps you should take to get your outdoor faucets ready for winter:

How to Winterize Home Plumbing

  • Prepare outside faucets – Locate all outside faucets. Disconnect any hoses and drain them for winter storage. Remove splitters or any other items from each faucet.
  • Turn off water from shut-off valves – Every faucet should have a shut-off valve inside your home or basement. Locate all shut-off valves for each corresponding faucet and shut the water off in a clockwise direction completely.
  • Drain exterior faucets – Turn on all faucets to drain any water left in them. If the water continues to flow, check the valve to make sure it’s off. Leave the faucet handle turned on throughout the winter.
  • Insulate any exterior pipes – Further, protect home plumbing by insulating all exterior pipes with pipe insulation. These insulation sleeves fit right over existing pipes and can be purchased through your local hardware or home improvement store. Also, winterize outdoor faucets with an insulated faucet cover to give added protection to your faucet.  Or you may want to install freeze-proof faucets that have a specially designed tube that goes to the shut-off valve. Whenever the faucet is turned off, any water in it automatically drains out through this tube.

For more on how to winterize outdoor faucets, or for other home comfort concerns, contact Meyer’s. We’re proud to serve the heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical needs of those in northwest Indiana and south Chicagoland.