If you have turned on your garden tap for the first time in a while to find it isn’t working, there could be several reasons for this. The most probable cause is either the washer needs replacing or the tap body itself needs servicing. The worst-case scenario would be the complete outside tap needs replacing, but fear not, it is a relatively simple job for a professional plumber. We look at some of the most common problems and solutions to help get your garden hose up and running as soon as possible.
Garden tap not working after freezing temperatures.
During winter, the cold can take its toll on our outside taps and pipework. If you find your outside tap stops working after a freezing winter, it is likely that it is a result of one of the following:
A damaged or stuck double check valve.
A double check valve protects the outside tap from contaminating the water supply. The addition of a hosepipe to a garden tap that could potentially be submerged in water (such as ponds, paddling/swimming pools, tanks), creates the risk of backflow and therefore contamination to the mains water supply. The valve should be installed close to the water outlet and will allow water to flow in one direction (to your tap) by forcing a spring open inside the valve. However, if the water tries to flow in the opposite direction (back into your home) the spring closes to prevent this from happening.
During extremely wintry weather, it is common for the valve to become stuck or damaged, which means it will need to be cleaned or, if the garden tap has the double check valve built in, replaced.
The pipework is frozen.
If the water in the pipework leading to your garden tap is frozen, you will need to thaw the pipe with a heat source to get things flowing again. To prevent this from happening in the first place, it is important to insulate the exterior pipework that runs to the tap. When water freezes, it expands, so a frozen pipe could lead to a burst pipe – which is costly, inconvenient, hazardous, and disruptive. Insulating pipework is a job well worth doing. Fitting an outside tap cover for the winter will also reduce the chances that your garden tap will freeze.