Consider Installing a Frost-free Hose Bibb In Your Boston Home

With the weather warming up, I’ve got the great outdoors on my mind. One project that is relatively easy to complete and will help prevent damage to your home is the addition of frost-free hose bibbs to your plumbing. Boston homeowners who have dealt with frozen hose bibbs, or worse – the damage they leave behind – can attest to the utility of having frost-free hose bibbs.

A frost-free hose bibb operates like an ordinary hose bibb does. You attach a hose to a standard threaded connector, and open and close the valve with a simple twist. The design of the frost-free hose bibb is what gives this addition its value. The frost-free hose bibb helps prevent pipe damage that can be caused when standing water freezes in-line. Often, homeowners don’t find this kind of damage until they try to use a hose and get a stream of water in the basement instead.

In new construction, frost-free hose connections are all but mandatory. In older homes, however, frost or freeze damage to the outside faucets is a real danger, and homeowners can benefit from this addition. Frost-free faucets have a long stem that extends into the home and connects to a shutoff. Once the water supply is shut off, the water that remains in the stem can drain away, leaving the stem empty and free from frost danger. The shutoff valve is located deep enough in the home to eliminate the danger of freezing in the supply pipe.

One word of caution: once your frost-free hose bibbs are installed, be sure to disconnect your hoses and drain the faucets prior to the beginning of the frost season. An attached hose will prevent the faucet from draining properly and you might end up with another damaged outdoor faucet.

To install a frost-free hose bibb, you’ll need a frost-free hose bibb and some common plumbing tools like a pipe cutter, and brazing equipment to make the new joints. If you would like to add frost-free hose bibbs to your home but don’t have the equipment, skill or experience, the plumbing professionals at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating can help. We’ll add frost-free hose bibbs to your outdoor plumbing setup and show you how to maintain them correctly and enjoy years of trouble-free use. If you’d like more information about adding a frost-free hose bibb to your home, call us at (617) 288-2911 and we’ll schedule a visit!
Next week, I’ll discuss adding hot water to your outdoor faucets.

A leaking outdoor faucet may require replacement

If you own a Boston-area home that has one or more outdoor faucets, you should take care each winter to shut the water to each faucet off and drain the outdoor fixture. Failing to do so could cause water inside the faucet to freeze. When the water freezes, it can expand and break the faucet, causing leaks outdoors, or worse, indoors.

You’ll know right away that you have a problem with a leaking faucet. If no water comes out of the spigot when you turn the faucet on, or you experience very low water pressure from the faucet, turn it off immediately and check the pipes indoors for leaks. Whether the water loss is indoors or outdoors, you’ll need to replace the faucet before you can use it again.

In Boston, you’ll want to replace your old setup with a “frost-free” faucet. The valve seat, the working part of the faucet (and the part that’s susceptible to damage from freezing) will reside inside the house, where the danger of a frozen pipe is sharply reduced. You may need to reposition the shut-off valve to make sure the valve seat stays warm enough all winter. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the faucet to determine how far back your shut off valve should be.

Replacement of your leaky hose faucet isn’t always straight forward, so if you do not own the tools needed for a job of this nature, or if you don’t have any experience with soldering or brazing, and you think this job may be too much, contact Boston Standard Plumbing at (617) 288-2911. We can replace your broken outdoor faucet with a new frost-free one. In addition, our frost-free hose faucets are anti-siphon, which means that you are safe when using fertilizer and other contaminants with your hose, because the anti-siphon feature will stop “backflow” from occurring.

With Boston Standard, we’ll give great preventative maintenance ideas to help you keep your hose faucet from freezing.