Spring is here, and that means warmer temperatures are starting to undo and expose some of the damage that frigid winter temperatures have done. This damage may seem small or trivial, but you’ll be surprised just how much of it may be there if you look for it. One thing you may not realize is a sign of winter damage is the small leaks that may have developed around your outdoor faucets. Outdoor faucets are extremely useful, but they can be the source of a number of headaches when something goes wrong with them. Leaks can cause damage to your home or your yard, they can waste water, and they can be difficult to repair if the leak is large enough.
Why Do Outdoor Faucets Leak in Spring?
Spring time is a time for renewal—as the weather warms up, your plants and flowers come back to life, trees start to grow leaves again, and life appears to thaw out. In the case of your outdoor faucets, they literally thaw out and get back to life as normal. However, when water thaws, it shrinks in volume, and that means any sort of damage that may have happened because of freezing water then becomes apparent.
Outdoor pipes will frequently freeze during the frigid winter temperatures of Chicago. When the pipes freeze, the water inside expands. However, this expansion can cause problem when it has nowhere to go. When water has nowhere to go, it puts a lot of extra pressure on the sides of your pipes and faucets. When this expansion happens, eventually it can cause everything from small cracks to massive holes. These may not become immediately apparent, but as soon as the frozen water in your pipes melts, it starts to leak out of these cracks and holes, resulting in the leaks you see each spring.
Protecting Your Pipes From Freezing
If you’re tired of winter weather causing plumbing leaks which then require you to get your plumbing repaired, one of the best things you can do is to simply protect your plumbing from the winter weather. Preventing the weather from impacting your pipes in turn prevents the water in your pipes from freezing. And pipes which don’t freeze don’t have to worry about the added stress and strain that causes the cracks and leaks in the first place.
The first thing you should do is look for any exposed pipes or plumbing lines on the outside of your home. You may not think you have any, but look closely and you’ll more than likely find at least a few—nearly every home has them. In many cases you can find these plumbing lines near your outdoor faucets, so if you have a hose connection you use frequently, that’s a great place to start your search.
When you find these lines, install plumbing insulation around them. Insulation is generally available from any home improvement store for a few cents per foot, and is extremely simple to install. However, the added protection against cold temperatures can prevent your faucets and pipes from freezing over, which makes it well worth the investment. Just bear in mind you’ll probably need to replace this insulation every year or two years, depending on its condition.
Second, the next thing you should do is cover any outdoor faucets during cold weather. Faucet covers are also generally available from your local home improvement warehouse, and provide a temporary shell that keeps the freezing cold temperatures at bay and prevents the faucet itself from freezing. While you may not think that the faucet itself is much of a risk, the truth is that there is still water in these faucets, even when it’s not flowing. Likewise the freezing cold temperatures in the faucet can be passed into the plumbing line itself, freezing the pipe and causing leaks.
If your outdoor faucets have frozen over or you’re spotting leaks in your outdoor plumbing lines this spring, call the experts at Precision Plumbing Sewer & Drain Cleaning at (630) 280-3221 and we’ll get it fixed for you as soon as possible.