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How Is A Frost Free Hose Spigot Different?

Why Worry About Your Outdoor Spigot?

In the Fredericksburg area we do experience winter temperatures that fall below freezing.  For most of the plumbing inside of your house, there is not often a concern for freezing pipes unless there is an extended power outage.  However, your outdoor spigots, also known has hose bibbs, are located outside of the warmth of your home.  This leaves them susceptible to the freezing temperatures.  If water is left in the line to the hose spigot the water expands as it freezes, sometimes rupturing the rigid pipe of the hose spigot.  This can lead to water damage as the water runs back inside of your walls.

There are two types of outdoor spigots available: standard and frost free.  The frost free type aims to prevent freezing water inside of the spigot that could cause damage to the pipe.

What Is The Difference?

A frost free hose spigot has a valve that sits further back from the cold exterior of your house, closer to the warm air and insulation inside.  When you turn the handle of the spigot off, the water that is left between the valve and the outlet is able to drain out.  You will actually notice when you shut off a frost free hose spigot that for an extra second or two water continues to flow out of the outlet as it drains.

When a frost free hose spigot is installed it must be set at a slightly downward angle.  If it is installed without being angled down, the water will still sit in the pipe between the outlet and the valve.

These spigots also have an anti-siphon valve.  This prevents any potentially contaminated water from flowing back into the pipes of your home.  This happens when the end of an attached hose is set in contaminated water outside, such as a puddle.  If there is a period of low pressure in the water line, that contaminated water could be sucked back in.

Keep In Mind...

Although they are marketed as frost free, these spigots are really frost resistant.  There are a few things to consider that might affect the function of these hose spigots:

  • All hoses must be removed when not in use.  An attached hose can prevent the water between the valve and the outlet from draining out.
  • Winterizing your hose spigots is still best practice.  When the weather gets cold, we recommend shutting off the valve to your hose spigots and draining all of the water out of the lines.  Click here for more information on winterizing hose spigots.

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