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Hose bibs at garage exterior walls

Richard Moore

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I occasionally have to write up hose bibs on exterior, unheated garage walls at new homes that lack interior shut-offs to drain the lines. Code seems a little "fuzzy" on these, but it seems like an obvious "best practices" issue. Today's new townhouse seemed worse than normal. The hose bib was at a short 18" wall between the car and man door. Presumably the piping (CPVC if it's the same as elsewhere) is coming from above. With the small size of the wall and three sides effectively exposed to the weather, this seems like a flood just waiting to happen if we get a long deep freeze. I'm actually surprised it survived the one that just ended.

You guys write these up, right?

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I added a line in my reporting system to identify "freeze vulnerable" pipes and fixtures about two year ago.

I wish I could say it was the result of a miraculuous revelation from above, but I noticed it as a line item on another reporting system. That's why we're all here isn't it - to share and learn?

It's a great warning for our clients that may save them an expensive lesson.

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I have a buddy with a fire/ water restoration company. They had about 20 new jobs from the freeze we just went through. He said over half of them were from frozen pipes that run through garage attic spaces and travel over to exterior garage wall hose bibs.

The installation of the year award goes to all of the plumbers who install a frost free hose bib on an unheated exterior garage wall to somehow get around having to install a shut off valve elsewhere.

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MY record disaster restoration project was a frozen pipe deal in 1990 - $40,000.00 damage. The poor fellow left for Boston. We had a low of zero and a lot of parts of town lost power. He had a boiler and radiators, so when we lost power, his cast iron radiators froze and burst. Then, when the power came back on and things thawed out, his auto-fill valve flooded the place and he came home to a basement full of water with water flowing out from under the front door as he was nervously eased the key into the front door lock.

Some clairvoyant recycler had wisely hoarded radiators and I found myself buying radiators from him down in Austin Texas for $700.00 a piece to get the job done. Of course the insurance company was footing the bill, but it was funny how it all played out.

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