What You Need to Know About Turning the Outdoor Faucet Back On…

…And Preventing Costly Repairs

Mop on concrete As we enjoy this uncharacteristically warm winter here in Calgary, many homeowners are turning their outdoor faucets back on much earlier than usual, whether it’s to wash the car, spray off the patio, or just to run water for yard work purposes. You may be one of these homeowners, and if so we hope you’re enjoying the time in the yard — but are you taking all the necessary steps to ensure you don’t end up with a flooded basement and a costly mess?

Of course, don’t forget, if there is a chance of below-freezing weather (which there still is), we recommend you turn off the water line to the hose bib inside the home. If you’re unsure of where to do this, try the basement near where the hose bib is located. After doing so, go outside to the faucet and turn it on to drain it. If you have a frost-free hose bib, it drains itself to 12 inches inside the wall of the house each time you turn it off, meaning that it shouldn’t freeze. However, to be on the safe side, whether you have a frost-free hose bib or not, you should check the pipe inside the home once you’ve turned the faucet on.

The Small Extra Step That Can Save You A Ton of Trouble

Once you have turned the water back on inside if needed, turn on your outside faucet. Let it run while you go back inside to the basement. Check for any leaks here before you do anything else! Picture the alternative: you’re outside washing the car, watering the garden or whatever it was you needed to do, while water gushes inside the basement from a pipe that you didn’t realize was cracked, because it hasn’t been turned on all winter!

Recently some of our clients have experienced this unfortunate mishap. In one especially scary case, the leak happened right over their electrical panel, and ended up causing an electrical fire. Yikes!

To prevent this entirely, it’s a good idea to turn off the water line to the outside tap even if you do have a frost-free hose bib. You still won’t need to drain the frost-free faucet, but you will prevent any water from staying in the pipe on the exterior wall in the basement and cut the chance of the pipe freezing. There may not always be a tap to turn off this water source but if there is, you’re better safe than sorry!

Either way, whenever you’re using the outside tap for the first time of season, it is always a good idea to go back inside the home while you let the water run, and do a quick check for leaks. This one small step could mean that you discover a leak right away and prevent costly damage.

If you’re interested in having a frost-free hose bib installed or if you’ve found yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a cracked or burst pipe to your outside faucet, give us a call! We can help with any of these things.