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It’s hard to believe that it will be time to close the book on 2021 in just a few short months. But before the New Year’s Eve fireworks go up over the Inner Harbor, the temps will start to come down as winter rolls in and the weather cools. As we all know, the onset of winter weather means it’s time to winterize the house, and your friends at Prime Plumbing want to make sure you aren’t overlooking that leaky outside spigot. Here are five things you need to know about leaky spigots and cold weather. 

Don’t forget to unhook the hose

Anyone who has ever neglected to unhook the hose from a leaky spigot during the winter probably won’t ever forget to do it again. When that happens, water inside the hose can’t drain properly and may freeze. This can create a backup that may even crack or burst pipes and cause water to flood inside your home. 

How to properly winterize your spigot:

  1. First, locate the shutoff valve for your outdoor spigot. It is usually located inside your home and in close proximity to where the spigot is.
  2. Next, disconnect your hose. Some people chose to store their hose indoors over the winter in case it is needed for emergency purposes (like putting out a fire).
  3. Open the spigot valve all the way and allow any remaining water to drain.
  4. (Optional) Place an insulated outdoor spigot cover over the valve for extra protection against the cold.

Leaky spigots can cause various problems

Even if water from a leaky spigot doesn’t freeze, it can still cause catastrophic outcomes for a homeowner. Leaky spigots that go unrepaired can damage a home’s foundation or spur the growth of mold and mildew on or around your home. Of course, there’s also the financial cost of a leaky spigot that drips gallons of water each day. According to a United States Geological Survey online calculator, just one leaky faucet producing a paltry 20 drips per minute will waste 925 gallons of water per year.

Spigots can leak for many different reasons

Frost can easily result in damage to a spigot that causes it to leak. While winter weather conditions are the most obvious reason a spigot would start leaking, there are others in play as well. Some things to keep an eye on include packing nuts that are loose and washers that have become worn or eroded. If you want to seriously protect your home in the winter, installing outdoor covers and frost-free spigots will ultimately give you the best chance at avoiding a leak. 

You can fix a leaky spigot yourself

A lot of people assume that fixing a leaky spigot in the winter requires extensive knowledge or specialized tools, but this can definitely be a DIY project for just about everyone. While not all leaks are the same, here are seven quick steps to tackle your run-of-the-mill leaky spigot:

  1. Begin the process by turning off your leaky spigot’s main water supply.
  2. Next, carefully unscrew the nut that sits under the faucet’s handle.
  3. Locate the valve stem and remove it from the spigot.
  4. Remove and replace the washer located at the end of the valve stem.
  5. Put the valve stem back into the spigot.
  6. Tighten the nut—but be sure not to overtighten.
  7. Turn your water back on, and marvel at your leak-free spigot.

Leaky Spigots are Usually Easy Fixes

A leaky spigot in the winter is not something to take lightly or put off. As you’ve read here, it can cause serious damage to both your home and your wallet. Fortunately, most cases are relatively simple and affordable repairs for plumbers. If you ever find that fixing a leaky spigot is outside of your comfort zone or you’d rather have a professional handle it, Prime Plumbing is here to help. Save time, call Prime!

We can help! Contact us today to schedule your service.