The outdoor faucet where you connect your hose (also known as the hose bib) can easily freeze in the winter if it isn’t properly drained. If water is left inside your hose bib and its supply pipe, they can freeze and burst, causing serious water damage inside or under your home. The good news is you can easily prevent your hose bib from freezing by taking these simple steps before temperatures drop below zero:
- Turn off the shut-off valve. Your home's outdoor water shut-off valve is usually located near the ceiling, on the inside of the wall where the hose bib is located. If the outdoor shut-off valve is tap- or knob-style, turn it clockwise, or to the right, to shut it off (remember: righty-tighty, lefty-loosey). If it's lever-style, turn the lever clockwise or in whichever direction the "off" arrow is pointing.
- Disconnect the hose from the bib. Turn off the hose bib by turning the knob all the way to the right and disconnect your outdoor hose. If there's a nozzle on the hose, turn it on so any additional water can drain out of the hose before you store it for the winter.
- Drain the hose bib. Once you’ve removed the hose, turn the outdoor faucet back on to allow any remaining water to flow out.
- Drain the shut-off valve. Return indoors and place a bucket under the shut-off valve, then open the drain plug to allow any remaining water to flow out of the valve. The drain plug usually looks like a small metal cap located on the side of the shut-off valve. Once all the water has drained out, close the plug or cap.
- Leave the hose bib valve open for the winter. If any water enters the bib, it will flow out instead of freezing.
What should you do if your hose bib or outdoor water supply pipe freezes and bursts?
Sometimes accidents happen despite your best efforts to prevent them — that’s why you have home insurance. Generally speaking, most home insurance policies will cover damage caused by a burst hose supply pipe. If you notice water damage in your home and can tell that the source was your hose bib or the connecting pipe:
- Immediately turn off the hose’s water supply valve and the electrical supply for the area
- Contact your home insurance broker or your insurance company’s 24-hour claims line so they can help you arrange for any necessary repairs
- Try to clean up as much of the water as possible to prevent further damage to your property and belongings
- Take lots of pictures of the burst pipe before it’s repaired (including photos of how it was installed)
- Keep the damaged pipe after repairs are completed, as your insurance company may need it
Have questions about how your own home insurance company would handle a burst or frozen pipe? Contact your licensed home insurance broker today.
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