A Sure Sign of Spring: Turning the Outdoor Water Lines Back On
Sometimes, it’s the little things: turning on the sprinkler for the first time in the spring or summer (to water the lawn or so the kids can have some fun, or both), preparing the garden by soaking holes for bedding-out plants or maybe getting ready for a water fight. None of these would be possible without that unsung hero, the hose bib.
Once you’re sure cold weather has passed and that it’s going to be consistently above freezing, you can go ahead and get that outside tap ready to go for the spring and summer.
Fall Maintenance Pays Off
If you’ve done your due diligence, you turned off the valve to this outdoor water source in the fall before the first hard freeze, and then drained the water out of the system from the tap outside. This means that your job now is very simple! Turn the valve back on inside the home, and check for leaks by turning on the faucet outside and then checking it, and the inside pipes, to be sure that the pipe was not damaged in the winter.
Of course, if you didn’t turn off the valve before winter came, or you did, but didn’t drain the water from the pipe afterward, you could be looking at a costly repair. Since the pipe leads from inside the house to an uninsulated area outside the home, any water left undrained may have frozen in the pipe over the winter. You will only find out whether this has happened by turning the tap on and checking for leaks within the house (make sure you know where the pipe leads first by finding the valve inside your house). If the water in the pipe did freeze and expand over the winter, you may now have a hole in the pipe, and water pouring into your basement.
If you’re the forgetful type or simply distrustful of Calgary’s weather, you might consider a frost-free faucet. The faucet itself actually stops water 12 inches inside the wall when you turn it off, so any sitting water is protecting in an insulated area. This isn’t necessary if you turn off and drain your hose bib each year, but it can offer some peace of mind!