It really is amazing how many broken freeze proof faucets I see every season because of the cold weather. I believe most, if not all, could have been saved if they had only had an outdoor faucet cover protecting them. Freeze proof faucets are installed on the exterior of the house and have a long stem inside that extends into the house where the valve shuts off the water to the faucet. Freeze proof faucets are meant to be graded down so that when the faucet is turned off any water remaining in the housing will drain out to the front of the stem and come out of the hose bib. This design only works when the water can actually drain out of the hose bib, which isn’t always the case.
One of the most important things you can do to keep a freeze proof faucet from freezing during the cold season is to remove the hose. If a hose is attached to the faucet it can prevent residual water from draining. The trapped water can freeze and completely defeat the purpose of the freeze proof faucet. Installing an outdoor faucet cover over the hose bib not only protects the fixture from the cold weather, wind, snow, and rain it also insures that you remove the hose.
Outdoor faucet covers are cheap to buy. Cheap meaning as low as $1 and up to maybe $10 depending on how fancy you want to get. They come in foam, foam insulated with hard plastic covers, and even in the form of nylon bags that just slip over the faucet to keep it protected. These covers can be bought just about anywhere you can buy plumbing material such as a local hardware or home improvement store. Faucet covers are a great value because they can be reused for years before they need to be replaced.
Outdoor faucet covers are really easy and quick to install so there is no excuse not to do it when you have about 30 seconds of spare time. Most hard covers are installed by putting the rubber loop that is inside the cover around the faucet then positioning the cover into place over the faucet. Then you can tighten the slide lock to hold the cover in place. The bag style covers just slip over the faucet and a drawstring is tighten which hold the cover in place.
No matter which faucet cover style you use they will help protect most faucets from some of the hardest freezes. Using covers as part of your plumbing winterizing routine can save you time and money in the spring when most outdoor freeze damage becomes obvious.