Imagine my surprise when I came home from work one freezing cold evening and found water flooding my basement. I ran to turn off the water and then I called the plumber. Even though it was late in the evening, the plumber immediately came to my house and fixed the busted water line. The plumber told me that I could have prevented my water line from freezing and busting if I had winterized the pipes. After researching various methods, I insulated the pipes so they won't freeze again. My name is Joel Hampton and this blog is about the different ways to winterize your plumbing pipes to keep them from freezing. Coming home to a basement filled with water is a nightmare and I hope that after reading the information in my blog, it won't happen to you.
If your outdoor water supply has developed a leak in some component of the system, you can either fix the problem or bypass the source until plumbing repairs can be done. Either option will you to keep access to water for your garden.
Replacing a leaking water bib
Water bibs (faucets) are simple to replace, requiring just a few tools and supplies including:
Turn off the valve that controls water to the supply pipe to your outdoor bib. Open the old bib to drain the pipe.
Using your wrench, turn the bib counterclockwise until it becomes detached.
Wrap pipe tape (thin plastic ribbon) on the exposed threads in a clockwise direction, then attach the new bib by turning it by hand clockwise. Use your wrench to tighten it fully with the faucet facing down. Turn on the supply valve and you're finished.
Fixing a leaking supply valve
The nut that holds the valve in place will sometimes become slightly loosened over time. If this is the case, tighten the nut, which is located directly under the handle, one-eighth of a turn clockwise.
If this doesn't work, you may need to call a plumber to replace it. Working with supply valves is difficult because of the water pressure.
Fixing a leaking supply pipe
If the leak is only a small drip, you can use pipe repair tape. This is a stretchable material that forms a seal when wrapped in layers around a leaking pipe.
To use pipe wrapping tape, turn off the supply valve and turn on the bib, drowning the pipe. Wrap the tape around the leak, stretching and pulling as you wrap several layers around the leak. Stretch the end of the tape and apply it to the rest of the tape, not the pipe itself.
If pipe tape doesn't stop the leak, call a plumber. Pressurized water pipe is difficult to replace.
Bypassing a leak
To bypass the leak, purchase a hose splitter and attach it to the bib supplying the cold water to your clothes washer.
A hose splitter is available at any home improvement store. To install it, turn off the cold water to your washer, and you hook the hose by turning it counterclockwise. Place the hose end in a bucket to drain.
Wrap pipe tape around the threads of your washer bib, and screw the splitter onto the bib by turning it clockwise.
Attach your washer hose to one threaded coupling and your garden hose to the other coupling. Each side has a valve that can turn it on and off. Alternate between the garden hose and washer according to need.