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Frost Free Outside Faucets

An important part of winterizing your house is dealing with your outside taps. You want to make sure they don’t freeze during Calgary’s cold winters. Frozen outdoor taps can lead to frozen pipes which can lead to burst pipes and expensive damage.

Simplify your winterizing process by having The Gentlemen Pros install freeze proof faucets on the exterior of your home.

Frost Free Outside Faucet
What is that tap on the outside of your house called?

It is has many different names and the names are all used interchangeable.

The most common ones are outdoor or outside faucets, taps, spigots, sillcocks, and hose bibs. A hose bib’s spigot (where the water comes out) is threaded so you can hook up a garden hose.

Also, a freeze proof faucet is also called a frost free faucet.

What’s the difference between a Frost Free Faucet and a Standard Outdoor Tap?

Freeze proof taps are designed differently than standard outdoor hose bibs.

Standard Outdoor Taps

On a standard outdoor faucet, the shut off valve (the part that stops the flow of water) is located inside the faucet itself usually right below the handle. As you turn the handle it either raises or lowers the valve body out of or into the valve seat, depending on the direction you turn the handle.

When you turn the tap off, the handle lowers the valve body into the valve seat stopping the flow of water. This means there is water in the pipes all the way up to and including inside the outdoor tap, even when water isn’t running.

This sitting water is susceptible to freezing when the temperatures dip below 0°C (32°F) leading to a frozen outdoor faucet. The water in the pipes inside your house connected to the outside tap can start to freeze if you don’t notice your frozen hose bib and thaw it out.

Frost Free Faucets

A frost free faucet’s shut off valve is located at the end of a pipe which connects to your home’s water system inside your house. The pipe on a freeze proof tap can be up to 30 cm (12 inches) long. This puts your outdoor tap’s shut off valve up to 30 cm (12 in) inside your heated home. So when you turn off your frost fee tap the shut off valve stops the water at the end of the pipe attached to your water system inside your home. The flow of water is stopped far away from the faucet itself and the freezing cold outdoors.

With no water sitting in your outdoor hose bib or in the first bit of pipe attached to the outdoor tap, there is a much smaller chance that the water will freeze inside the pipes and cause problems.

Why is a Frost Free Faucet Important?

When water freezes the resulting ice takes up 9 to 10 percent more space than the original water.

This is a problem in a confined space like a pipe. As the water freezes, the ice puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the pipe. This pressure can cause the pipes to burst.

You may not even know you have a problem until the first thaw. That’s when you will notice water leaking or — if you’re really lucky spraying — from the pipe.

Frost Free Faucet Installation

Installing a frost free outdoor faucet can be tricky. Unless you are a very skilled DIYer, it is best left up to the professionals like The Gentlemen Pros plumbers.

It isn’t a case of attaching it to the water system that runs up to the outside wall. A frost free tap connects to your water lines inside your house. In addition, a frost free tap needs to be installed on a slight downward slope towards the spout to ensure all the water drains from the pipe when the water is turned off.

Call The Gentlemen Pros and our qualified tradesmen plumbers and apprentices will install your frost free hose bib quickly and professionally.

Now what?

Once you have installed your freeze proof faucets, all you will have to do every Fall is remove the hose from the tap and drain it. It is important to remove the hose and any other fittings because they can trap water in the faucet.

That’s it, that is all you have to do to to winterize your outdoor taps. You do not have to turn the water off to your outside faucets.

Signs of Frozen or Burst Pipes

Switching all your outdoor taps to frost free faucets will greatly reduce the chance you will get frozen and burst pipes caused by your outside faucets. But burst and frozen pipes can be caused by things other than your outdoor taps, so it is good to know the warning signs.

  • Limited water: If you turn on a tap and water only dribbles out of it, you could have a burst or frozen pipe. Either the break in the pipe or ice in the pipe has stopped the flow of water through your house.
  • Bulging Pipes: Bulging pipes are always a cause for concern because they often lead to burst pipes. If your pipes are frozen, the resulting ice has no where to go and places a tremendous amount of pressure on the pipes. This could be a reason your pipe is bulging.
  • Gurgling Sounds: Gurgling sounds coming from your pipes usually indicates a blockage and the blockage could be ice. The weird sounds could also be the the sound of ice travelling through those pipes. You need to check it out.
  • Condensation or Frost on the Pipes: What is causing your pipes to sweat? Condensation happens when the air around your pipes is a lot warmer than the water running through them. This could indicate that the water in the pipes is very close to freezing. The same for frost on your pipes. The frost is usually caused by frozen condensation.
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