By Guest Writer and Amador County Master Gardener Bonnie Toy
Winter is definitely on the way, and that can mean pipes broken from the frost. This morning I disconnected all my hoses and rolled most of them up for storage. The standpipes are all wrapped in the foam pipe insulation that you can get from the hardware store, but it has always been a challenge to figure out how to protect the faucet itself – wrap it with rags and string? Insulating tape? A scrap of wall insulation?
I’ve tried a variety of these over the years, and while they all work okay, it is a nuisance to get them all wrapped safely, and it is a hassle to unwrap them again in the spring, only to have to repeat the process for the next frost season.
This year I made frost caps for my faucets. They tie on easily, and can be removed easily in the spring and stored for the next frost season.
I made several different styles and sizes, as I have some hoses that must run all winter to keep the stock troughs full, and I have a couple of 2 headed faucets on a single stand pipe. But most are single faucets on a straight stand pipe.
You do need a sewing machine, but frost caps aren’t hard to make. Here are instructions for the single faucet/single standpipe style. You can modify the dimensions for other configurations once you see how easy these things are to assemble.
What you need for 1 frost cap:
2 pieces of water resistant fabric, 8”x16” (I ordered ripstop nylon from Seattle Fabrics)
2 pieces of quilt batting or other insulating material, 8”x16”
1 piece of 1/4” cording, 26” long
Lay the fabric out and top each piece with a piece of insulating material.
Fold each of the pieces in half, so that the fabric is on the outside and the insulation is on the inside. You should now have 2 8” squares with one finished edge (the fold), and 3 unfinished edges. Stack the squares on top of each other, making sure the folded edges are together.
Pin at the 4 corners, doing your best to align the fabric pieces and insulation pieces so that all layers match at the corners.
Fold the cording in half, and push the loop formed by folding it from the inside of the “sandwich” to the outside. The loop should slightly show outside a raw edge, and should be about 1” above the folded edge. The tails should be pulled down so they don’t get caught in the seam.
Now, starting at the folded edge with the loop nearby, sew a few stitches and backstitch. Continue sewing until you have stitched over the loop. Backstitch again. Continue sewing until you get to the corner, turn the corner and sew across the top, turn the corner and then down the other side. Backstitch when you reach the end. Trim your seam allowances and turn the cap right side out.
That’s it! Easy Peasy.