garden hoses and freezing faucets

Hey everyone - my fiance and I just bought a fairly new house in the Midwest (build in 1997). We move in March 15 and had the home inspector go through the house yesterday. One thing he mentioned was there were garden hoses connected to the two faucets on the outside of the house (temps here get well below 0). He seemed to say as long as we got them disconnected before it thawed, the pipes would be OK?
Does anyone have any comments on this? It seems to me if the pipes are going to burst it would happen when in first froze, not after it thaws. Is there any way to tell if the pipes are broken other than turning on the faucets and seeing if we get water in our basement?! If they are broken how easy/expensive is it to fix? And finally, is this something we should demand is fixed by the current owners before we close?
Please reply in the group and don't email me directly. Thanks for all the replies in advance - I appreciate it. I'm sure I'll be frequenting this group once we move in to our house!
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<< It seems to me if the pipes are going to burst it would happen when in first freeze >>
You got that right, Dude. But there may be enough escaping house heat in the sillcock area to keep it from happening the first time, or second, but then comes the BIG CHILL and you have a problem. It's easy to forget about the outside hoses, so a shutoff valve in the sillcock line is a neat idea to make repairs easier.
<< Is there any way to tell if the pipes are broken other than turning on the faucets and seeing if we get water in our basement?! >>
Best way I know of, but only turn them on briefly.
<< is this something we should demand is fixed by the current owners before we close? >>
You'd not buy a used car without appropriate repairs, so no reason to accept a house with problems, even if the repair cost is moderate. Moral to the story, disconnect hoses so the sill cock is drained of water exposed to chill breezes. But you knew that already, so congratulations. HTH
Joe
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If the faucets are the so-called freeze-proof units, one has to be real careful. The freeze-proof faucets actually have the valve 8 to 10 inches behind the faucet where the temperature should be "inside temperature." However, if water is stuck in the tube between the inside valve and the faucet (the part you see outside), freezing water could break that tube. It happened to me where I had a hose roller with a 3' hose connected to the center of the roller. While I removed the emptied garden hose and reel and stored it inside, the 3' feeder hose was still there. I didn't think about that. The following spring the water was turned on and it leaked inside the wall. The original frost-proof faucet had burst about half way between the valve and the outside faucet.
chichikov wrote:

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cant_have_my snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (chichikov) wrote in message

What matters is whether the water is on/off and whether the hose "bibb" and other parts of the line exposed to low temps are drained.
If the water is off sufficiently far inside the house that it cannot freeze in the line, and the line outboard of that is drained, no problem..
You should check the location of the inside shutoffs.
Hose connected or not means nothing.
HTH, John
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John Barry wrote:

I live in Minnesota. In the front of the house there's a hosebib, and it freezes every year but does not break. If I had a hose connected, the hose would burst (don't ask me how I know this) and the faucet might break.
There is a shutoff valve inside the house, but if I close that, the water trapped between the valve and the faucet could freeze and burst the pipe. With the shutoff valve open, the water freezes and expands back into the house piping and causes no problems.
Best regards, Bob
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The shutoff valve should have a drain/waste plug in it, so that you can shut off the valve, open the sill-cock, and then unscrew the cap on the waste hole and drain the pipe between.
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default wrote:

The valve is accessable through a little hole cut in a finished ceiling. I don't know if it has a waste plug or not, it's hard to get to. Also, last time I opened a waste plug on a 50 year-old main valve, the plug twisted off and would not go back on and I had to replace the valve. This valve looks just as old.
It's a lot easier to just let the faucet freeze every winter.
Bob
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The shutoff inside the house is only step one. Close that one, *then* open the outside faucet to allow any free water to drain. And leave it open until spring when you're ready to use the faucet again. There should be no trapped water, but waht water remains should be able to easily expand through the open faucet.
Joe F.
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chichikov wrote:

I think you are correct in that if damage is going to happen, it will already have happened. The problem with the hose is that while it is connected, the line is unlikely to drain, even if you have a frost-proof sillcock, or turned off the water inside at the shutoff. If the line did not drain and the water froze, the pipes may be damaged, and the damage may not be obvious until the ice is gone, as the ice may be blocking the line.
I don't know if the damage, if there is any, will be apparent before your closing, so perhaps you should ask that some amount be held in escrow until spring. I wouldn't think this would be a major expense to repair, as long as the water lines are accessable; if they are buried in a slab, however, it is a far more expensive repair. Perhaps, if the hoses are removed, there will be a spell of temperate weather before your closing, and you could run water and see if there is a leak. I should say, in all honesty, that the time I forgot to remove my hoses it was very difficult getting them off because of the ice, but there was no damage to the pipes.

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chichikov wrote:

Your surmizing is correct and your home inspector is an idiot. I would now worry what else he may have missed. It's the freezing, not the thawing that causes the damage. Hoses should not be connected, however, if water drained from the hoses then there would be no problem. If the basement hasn't been finished it will be easy to check, just look to see if there is any water drips inside with the faucet closed then hook up a hose and a spray head with the spray close (to create pressure in the faucet) and see if you see water drips. The first case indicates that the pipe behind the faucet froze, the second indicates that the faucet itself froze. If it is out in the open the cost will probably be a plumber call, plus 10-20 for each faucet plus an hour of labor (it will actually take about 15 minutes to replace both faucets), but you shouldn't have to pay for it since no reasonable person would leave a hose hooked up. If the basement is finished, you will need to rip out a ceiling pannel to fix any break which means that the cost will be increased.
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Unless, of course the outdoor faucet(s) are already the freeze-proof type.
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HA HA Budys Here wrote:

Don't quite understand that comment. I think all of us are assuming that they are "freeze-proof" type. Freeze proof only means that the actual valve is inside the basement or crawl space and water so water drains out of the exposed part. With a hose hooked to the faucet, water doesn't always drain, so the "freeze-proof" become "freeze-prone."
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A secondary function of the shutoff valve is to prevent supplemental damage when the burst pipe thaws. Otherwise, it's just an open pipe, because the crack allows the water to bypass the external shutoff. If the crack is exterior, you'll just give your sump pump a workout & run up your water bill (or drain your well). If it's internal, ... well, you get the picture.
Joe F.
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My house had old shut offs inside, when i tried to close one yrs ago it broke and I had to replace it. I have 2 more in the house and did not want the same problem. So I went to Ace and bought these styrofoam caps that go over the faucets outside they are shaped like a bowk and have a hook to adjust them tightly up to the house, they work great and cost like 2 bucks.
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