“Springtime flooding awareness” Part 1 – Hose Bibs

You know how everybody assumes flooding and/or spring flooding is caused by massive rainstorms, hurricanes, swelling rivers or water runoff from the hills above…well I am here to tell you that way more spring floods are caused because you forgot to take the hose off the outdoor hose bib last fall…. And I would know because I have spent the last 30 + years mitigating and repairing the damage caused by the above-described scenario. Not to mention the fact that HYDRACLEAN Disaster Restoration Services deploys catastrophic loss crews through-out Canada when mother nature doles out devastatingly dramatic disasters like wildfires and swelling rivers that can consume communities. Obviously, we cannot control Mother Nature, but we can control man made engineered systems.

Here are some of the things you need to know so that you can take care in the spring to avoid unnecessary water escapes that can cost you money and valuable resources.

The number one cause of water damage in the spring is the “Frost-Free Hose Bibs”.

As soon as the sun comes out – everybody wants to wash their cars, plant their flower garden, power wash the driveway and fill their pools; Meanwhile as they are doing so, they are unaware that because they left their hoes attached to their Frost-Free hose bib water is rushing into their home through the wall cavity and damaging valuable home furnishings. Most homeowners are perplexed, they do not have any idea where the water is coming from, so eventually they call us. Typically, they call the plumber and he or she realizes that they left their hose attached to their exterior hose bib in the fall, and that has caused the frost-free portion of the hose bib to remain charged with water instead of draining as it would had the hose bib been disconnected in the early fall, before the frost… Its an expensive lesson! Hence the term “Frost-Free Hose Bib”

Interesting footnote here, houses that had hose bibs installed back before 1980 seldom had these problems…. however, design changes beyond 1980 came up with a new-fangled exterior hose bib called the “Frost Free Hose Bib.”

The idea was that if when you rotated the handle to turn the tap off, you are actually turning the valve off inside the house in the heated space,…the theory being water only remains in the section of the water line inside the heated space, therefore freezing during the winter was less likely because the part of the hose bib that was charged with water remains above freezing inside the house, unlike that old idea that stood the test of time since the invention of hose bibs which allowed the water line to remain charged right to the cold exterior. Well, that is all fine in theory, but the lack of your understanding of the modern style “Frost Free Hose Bibs” and there function-ability are responsible for more water damages then any previously mastered hose bib designs.

The reason for that is because the Frost-Free Hose Bib works only when the homeowner removes the garden hose off the hose bib so that that last 6 inches of water charged in that section of the pipe chamber can drain. But if you do not remove the hose allowing the frost free (last 6 inches of the spigot) to drain, the cold winter air freezes that section, and as we know water expands when it freezes, therefore creating a break in that section of the hose bib.

But the story does not end there, once the hose bib thaws out in the springtime there is still no leak inside the wall cavity and or inside the house. Nope that only happens when the sun is shining, and you decide to wash your car in the driveway and typically you are outside because of course there is nothing to worry about inside right? Wrong! meanwhile inside the wall cavity the water is now allowed to pass by the valve into what is known as the Frost-free portion of the “Frost Free Hose Bib” where the pressure is so great that the water sprays out like a sprinkler inside that wall cavity and inevitably runs inside the pipe causing water damage. The longer you shine that car with that hose charged, the more water can run inside the house causing a costly extraction, dry-out and restoration.

The moral of the story is always disconnect your garden hose in the fall prior to freeze up!

Stay tuned for:

Irrigation systems.

Sump pumps

Sand bagging

Forecast preparation

Rubber totes

Well Systems – early detection


Mark J. Gotro


HYDRACLEAN Disaster Restoration Services Ltd.

Since 1988

24hrs every day of the year – 1-877-91FLOOD – 1-877-913-5663



Our advice is always free.

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