It is that time of year again and we need to winterize our homes. One of the tasks should be to disconnect any hoses and splitters attached to the outside faucets. By removing all connections from the faucet, all of the water in the pipe can drain to prevent it from freezing and damaging the faucet and water pipes.
Most homes that will see freezing weather have a freeze proof faucet installed. These faucets are designed to drain water from any external part of the faucet. Water is actually shutoff inside the home where the temperature is warmer to prevent freezing. If you are not familiar with the difference between the two types of faucets, look at the photos below. The Lower left photo shows a freeze proof faucet. The handle turns a long straight stem to shutoff water at the end of the pipe. The lower right photo shows a non-freeze proof faucet and notice the angle of the knob. It is not horizontal does not have a pipe attached. The lower right photo shows a non-freeze proof and notice the handle is at an angle and NOT horizontal. This is the quickest way to identify the type of faucet you have. If you do not have a freeze proof type, you will need to shut-off the water to the faucet from inside the home.
The copper pipe, in the photo to the right, shows an enlarged crack inside the home (arrow). A water hose was left connected to a freeze proof faucet all winter and did not allow the faucet to drain the water away. The water in the faucet and the copper froze and burst the pipe. In the spring, when the faucet will be used again, water will flow through the burst copper pipe and into the home.
Chuck retired from an engineering management career to start a home inspection business