If you live in a part of the country where the temperature dips below freezing, you should not leave your hoses connected to outside faucets. It is December now–if your hoses are still connected outside it may already be too late.
DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR HOSES ARE?
Whether these are “Frost-free” type faucets or old style faucets that have interior shut-offs to drain the outside faucet, the hoses should be removed. Water that remains in the hose can defeat the purpose of both types of faucets.
Many homes have frost-free hose faucets. These faucets actually have a long tube that runs to the interior space and the handle of the faucet has a long stem that runs inside the tube and shuts the water off inside the house—-making the valve less likely to freeze. When the valve is shut off the tube drains —-unless there is a hose on it out (at least it should if it is sloped the correct way). Leaving the hose in place will defeat this function of the faucet.
If you have an older home without frost-free type faucets there “should” be interior shut-offs so that the outside valves can drain the pipes. Not operating this interior shut-off clearly leaves the valve vulnerable to freezing regardless of whether there is a hose on it or not.
Some people like to put insulating foam caps over these valves and keep their fingers crossed. These caps should not be necessary on frost-free type faucets. I have seen these caps actually fill up with ice from VERY minor leaking of the valve and then this ice backs up into the tube where it can damage the valve. This can happen with either type of valve.
As a Seattle Home Inspector when I find hoses in place from October 1st until April 1st, I do not re-install the hoses after I test the valves for water pressure. It will vary around the country, depending on how cold it gets, as to when you should leave your hoses disconnected in cold weather. In Minnesota never leaving them in place might be a good idea–just kidding.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
If you enjoyed this post, and would like to get notices of new posts to my blog, please subscribe via email in the little box to the right. I promise NO spamming of your email