Freezing Problems This Winter

outside faucetLately, everyone is talking about how the Farmers’ Almanac is indicating two more years of nasty cold weather like we just had.  Most of us are familiar with winters that warm up every few weeks, but when the temperatures stay below freezing for days at a time, your pipes freeze, crack, and then thaw and leak. The ones you don’t think about – like your outside wall faucets. Your outside wall faucets – you might know them as hose bibs or outdoor faucets where your hoses attach, or that metal thingy the dog drinks from in summer.

Maybe your hose bibs survived this winter and maybe they didn’t. Do you know? Are you sure? If the crack or break in their piping is behind the wall, you’re not going to notice it right away. You may feel a slight decrease in water pressure when you shower, or maybe your water bill went up for no reason, or maybe the dandelions are especially lush and abundant next to the side porch. Hmmm, they didn’t used to be…oh well, it’s spring!  In any case, be pro-active and make sure you don’t have a slow leak under the house. Small drips run down your pipes back into your home, slowly creating moisture issues you didn’t realize were happening until it’s too late.

How do you avoid these problems? At the first sign of freezing weather, detach your hoses from the outside water faucets. CAUTION! We often get surprised by late or early spring freezes. As the water in your hose freezes, it can actually move up into your home, cracking the valve and or pipes near the foundation. When the water thaws, leaks start to seep water under your home. Water is the key to the life of mold and mildew. A slow leak will feed the fungi which can grow quickly in the dark foundation areas. You need to inspect your crawl space for these leaks after a winter like this. Stopping a small leak now can save you a lot of money in future repairs and clean-up.

There is a simple way to protect your home and avoid the issue all together. Have your plumbing professional install freeze proof hose bibs on your home. These faucets drain after they have been turned off, allowing the water to exit after the valve is closed. This insures the water is never in the pipe during freezing temperatures. Call Cooper Plumbing for more information at 208-467-2286.

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