How to Make Sure Your Outdoor Plumbing is Ready for the Winter
Before it starts to get cold enough to freeze hard at night, there are some crucial steps you need to take to prepare your outdoor plumbing for the winter. As we all know, the nights get cold fast in Calgary, and these few easy but important steps will ensure that your plumbing isn’t damaged by the temperatures.
If you have an irrigation system in place, there is not much you need to do, as this maintenance needs to be done by the irrigation company themselves. So give them a call and this task is out of your hands!
Hose Bibs (Outdoor Taps)
There is one thing that it is absolutely imperative you do each year before it gets too cold outside — meaning that now, the beginning of October, is the perfect time to tackle this task: draining your hose bib or hose bibs and shutting off the valve that supplies it.
If you have a frost-free hose bib, all you need to do is remove the hose from the tap. Done! As long as your house is properly insulated, you can now rest easily until spring.
What to Do If You Do Not Have Frost-free Hose Bibs Installed
Your home most likely has a separate shut-off valve for the outside taps. In newer homes this might be near the main shut-off valve; otherwise check inside the home near the location of the outdoor tap. Once you have located this shut-off valve, turn it off and then go outside to the hose bib and open the tap, and let it drain completely. Repeat with all outdoor taps.
While you’re out there, double check that the hose bib is sealed all around with silicon or expanding foam. This protects the metal pipe from freezing right up inside the house and consequently splitting. If it’s not already sealed, add that to your list!
Next, grab a bucket and go back inside to the valve. You should see a cap on one end. Put the bucket under this cap and take the cap off, letting the water drain into the bucket.
Water not draining from the valve? Check if the valve has a vacuum breaker on it, threaded onto the cap. If it does, loosen the vacuum breaker off and it will let air in and allow the water to drain.
You’re done! Come spring, just turn the valve to the outdoor tap back on again and rest assured that the pipe will be in good condition.