One of the exciting spring rituals for homeowners in cold weather places like our wonderful city of Minneapolis is to turn the water back on to the home’s outside faucets. Most people turn off the water in the fall to avoid potential water damage from a pipe freezing and breaking. What some forget to do in the fall is to let whatever water is still in the pipe drain out by opening the outside faucet.
Water expands when it freezes and if the pipe leading to the outside is left full of water over the winter, temperatures near the outside wall can sometimes get cold enough to freeze the water. It then expands and sometimes breaks the pipe. You don’t notice the problem during the winter. Because you turned off the water source, very little water escapes from the broken pipe. It doesn’t escape until you turn the water back on in the spring. If you realize right away that the pipe is broken, you can quickly turn the water off before much damage is done. You end up with an annoying bill from a plumber and probably learn from the experience to do things differently in the future. That’s bad enough.
But here’s what we see happen all too often: people get caught up in all sorts of outdoor projects on those first nice spring days. They run down to the basement to turn on the water, and then quickly head back outside to rake, fertilize, pull weeds, or whatever. They don’t notice the water escaping into their basements, and sometimes the water ends up running for hours before it gets detected. To easily prevent this, have another person with you when you turn on the outside water. My husband and I turn on the outside water together. I go downstairs and monitor the main water valve and he opens up all the outside faucets. That way if anything did freeze or break we can catch it right away and shut the main water valve off immediately before any water damage can happen. Speaking of the main water valve, it is a good idea that everyone living in the home knows where the main water valve is in case of a water leak.
Happy Spring Minneapolis!