A hose makes life a little bit easier. It's convenient to wash your car at home, or hose off the dog after an unfortunate run-in with a skunk. But a hose can also create a huge headache. If it's not disconnected before the winter weather hits, you could have a burst pipe. Installing a frost-free faucet is a great way to be pro-active. Burst pipes are one of the most expensive plumbing repairs.
What happens during a freezeWhen the water inside the attached hose freezes, it expands and backs up into the attached plumbing. The pipe eventually runs out of room to expand and cracks. Once the ice begins to melt, you will have some serious clean up and repairs to do.
The best way to prevent this mess is to disconnect the hose each season. Another way to have some peace-of-mind is to install a frost-free faucet. A frost-free outside faucet is designed so that the pipe extends through the sidewall of the house, and combined with the flow valve, remains in the heated interior to prevent freezing.
Regular vs. frost-free faucetThe diagram below shows the difference between a regular outside faucet and a frost-free faucet. The main difference between the two is that the valve on the frost-free type is INSIDE the home where it's warm. There's no water near the faucet to freeze when it's shut off. No matter what type of outside faucet you have, you MUST remove the hose during the winter to avoid a burst pipe!