Winter is coming. And all our faucets and water pipes are not safe from freezing and frost. Prevent any water contamination and damages this coming winter by installing frost-free hose bibs.
But what exactly are they? Let’s find out.
The difference between regular hose bibs and frost-free hose bibs
The hose bib is a small outdoor faucet located at your home’s outer wall. This device help you access to water while in your backyard, driveway, or garden. A standard hose bib is ideal for locations without winter. Because when the temperature goes down to a freezing point, there will be freezing at the base of the water spigot. This is problematic because it will take a lot of time to defrost the pipes. You probably won’t notice it until spring comes and you aren’t able to use your garden hose. When this happens, I advise you to call a reliable plumbing service in your area.
While a frost-free hose bib is made to make it convenient to turn off your water supply without having to manually shut it off to prevent your pipes from freezing. When you turn on the faucet, the valve will let water into the pipe to your faucet. Otherwise, it will remain off making sure no water is in your pipes preventing it from freezing. This is very helpful in the winter where frozen pipes are common.
Why a frost-free hose is a must-have for Canadian homes?
Canada is known to have harsh and sometimes freezing winters. Every year, we experience cold winters and if you are not prepared for the cold, you will tend to overlook important details, like your plumbing. Water pipes do freeze when the temperature is really low, beyond the freezing point. It might result in water contamination or worse, it can burst and cause permanent damages to your water lines.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to your home, it is best to be prepared. Frost-free hose bibs can prevent your water pipes from freezing so that when spring comes, you can still use your hose bib.
What you will need
Before the installation, it is best to prepare everything first. This way, the installation will be done quickly and continuously.
Tools you will use:
- Drill bits (paddle bit, masonry bit)
- Caulking gun
- Soldering kit
- Pipe cutter
Materials you will need:
- Anti-siphon frost-free sillcock
- Latex gloves
- Shut-off valve (Choose the one with a sillcock shut-off valve. Make sure it has a small hole.)
- Copper pipes and fitting
- Self-tapping screws
- Silicone sealant
Step-by-step Frost-free hose bibs installation instruction
Now that all the materials and tools you will need, let us start! To properly and safely perform the installation, you may need to have at least a moderate skill level. If you don’t know how to handle these tools, I highly suggest calling a professional plumber to help. The tools you will be using are powerful and soldering is required. It is best to call a professional if you are unfamiliar with these power tools.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for installing frost-free hose bibs:
- Turn off your water heater
- Purge your plumbing system. Turn your hot water faucet located at the lowest part of your home. Make sure there is no hot water in your plumbing.
- Using the pipe cutter, cut into your water heater’s cold water line. Let it drain. When it’s fully drained, make another cut and remove the whole section of the pipe. Wear your latex gloves, deburr and clean the cut pipe on each end and the coupling. Repeat this step for another section of the pipe and 90° elbow. Clean and attach the 90° elbow then the pipe.
- Clean and prepare a copper T. Connect the 2 open ends then insert the clean copper T in between the 2 ends. Take another copper pipe and remove any burns. Add flux to the end of the new pipe and place it to the end of the copper T.
- For this step, you will need the right shut-off valve. Position the shut-off valve in its correct position. You will see an arrow pointing at the water flow on it. When it is in its right position, start soldering the joints.
- Close the shut-off valve, turn the water back on, turn the faucet off to check if there are any leaks. Turn your water heater on.
- For this next step, prepare several copper pipes and fittings. Clean them all. Make sure your soldering kit is within reach. Insert a copper pipe into the open end of the shut-off valve. Run the other end up to where the sillcocks will enter your home. Solder all the joints carefully.
- Get your drill and paddle bit, drill through the sill plate. Make a small hole first then slightly angle your drill, start drilling in a circular motion to open up the hole.
- Attach your extended masonry bit to your drill to help you widen the hole you made from the previous step. Remove all clogged debris and dust. Fill the hole with silicone caulk.
- Behind the sillcock’s flange, clip on the plastic wedge. Insert the sillcock with the plastic wedge into the hole you made. Secure the sillcock with self-tapping masonry screws.
- To prevent too much heat while soldering, open up the sillcock. Clean the copper pipes. Then, apply flux then slip the pipe into the 90° elbow. Solder to make sure they are connected. Mount the unit into the sillcock. Measure the distance from your sillcock to your water line. Cut a piece of pipe using the measured distance.
- Clean the cut pipe, 90° elbow, and all exposed pipes. Slide the 90° elbow on either side. Connect the sillcock to your water line. Then solder all the ends and joints.
Lastly, open the shut-off valve. Allow your sillcock to flush out all the dirt and debris collection inside before turning it off.