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April 16th, 2019 in DIY Plumbing

What to Do if Your Hose Bibb Froze Over Winter


Spring is in the air, which means it’s a great time to enjoy the warmer weather and catch up on outdoor tasks like cleaning, washing your car, or planting this year’s garden. However, one of the quickest ways to ruin those good spring feelings is by finding out that your outdoor faucet is leaking.

Winterize your Hose Bibbs

If you forgot to winterize the hose bibb, water inside may have frozen at some point, which can damage your interior plumbing, cause a big mess, and become very costly if not fixed right away.

At Rick’s Plumbing, this is the time of year that many of our customers call us to replace a frozen hose bibb. Here is what you need to know.

Signs of a frozen hose bibb

You may not know that your hose bibb froze over the winter until you turn on the faucet for the first time in the spring. At that point, you may notice lower water pressure than normal, or the sound of water rushing inside the house on the other side of the hose bibb. These are signs that water froze, expanded, and punctured a pipe.

Why does a hose bibb freeze?

When water sits in the hose bibb and interior pipes over the winter, it can be exposed to cold temperatures and freeze (even if your house is insulated). Older-style hose bibbs are especially at risk because they are short and allow water to sit right up the faucet.

Newer outdoor faucets, usually called frost-proof bibbs, are better at protecting your plumbing because the shut-off valve goes deeper inside the home, keeping it away from the colder temperatures. However, if you left the hose attached to your frost-proof bibb, the water inside the hose may have frozen and backed up into the faucet.

What you can do

First, inspect the hose bibb, interior plumbing line, and supply valve when turning the outer faucet back on for the first time. If you see any water on the wall or floor, or notice that a pipe is disfigured or broken, keep the supply valve shut off.

Unless you’re experienced in plumbing work, replacing a broken hose bib is better off left to a licensed plumber. It’s important to install and position a frost-proof hose bib correctly so that the water is pitched toward the exterior wall, among other things. If installed incorrectly, you could be back in the same position next spring. The complexity of the job can depend on whether the hose bibb is exposed in your basement or hidden behind a finished wall.

Hose bibb replacement in New Haven and Fairfield Counties

If you need to replace your hose bibb or help with any other spring-related plumbing issues, give Ricks Plumbing a call at (203) 874-6629. We’ll be happy to take care of your water issues so you can go back to enjoying the beautiful season.



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