Winterizing Exterior Water Faucets

by April Reinhardt
(last updated November 10, 2017)

1

While many homeowners take the time to prevent frozen water pipes within their home, some forget that outside water faucets are even more susceptible to freezing and bursting. Did you know that an eighth-inch crack as a result of water freezing, expanding, and bursting a pipe can result in a loss of 250 gallons of water per day? Where do you think that water will wind up? The resultant cost in repairs to your water pipes and possibly even your foundation can be mind boggling—this does not even count the water bill.

Why not take a few hours to completely winterize your exterior faucets and avoid the time, anguish, and money loss later on? Follow these simple steps for winterizing your exterior faucets and you will be glad that you did:

  1. Turn off the water faucets. Turn each handle clockwise until you cannot tighten it further.
  2. Locate the shut-off valve for each outside water faucet. Usually, the shut-off valves are inside of the house, near the inside pipe connected to the outside faucet. Turn the valves off tightly.
  3. Drain the inside valves. Place a bucket or large bowl underneath the inside valves, unscrew the drain plug on the side of the valves, and allow the water to drain into the bucket or bowl. Replace the drain plug.
  4. Go outside and remove any garden hoses attached to your outside faucets.

Another way that you can prevent frozen faucets is to visit your local home improvement or hardware store and purchase insulated outside faucet covers. These are specially designed to fit and protect all types of hose bibs and water spigots, outside faucet covers are easy to install. Follow the instructions that come with the kit in order to seal the faucet, and protect it from freezing water that may remain after draining your valves.

It only takes a small amount of time and money to winterize your outside faucets. The money and time you spend now will more than compensate for the money and time you may have to spend repairing burst water faucets later.

If you find, despite best efforts, that your outside water faucets freeze, you can easily thaw them and then inspect for cracks. To thaw frozen pipes: use a hair dryer on high heat; situate a heat lamp nearly touching the frozen pipe; wrap an electric heating pad around the pipe; or use a portable space heater near the pipe. Never, ever use a blowtorch or other open-flamed tool on a frozen water pipe, as you may cause the water inside to boil, resulting in an explosion.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Caring for a Blister

Blisters are the skin's defense mechanism to protect its deeper layers from bacteria. While preventing a blister is almost ...

Discover More

Removing Stains from a Wood Deck

Most mild stains can easily be removed from a wood deck with detergent and water. Simply use a stiff brush to agitate the ...

Discover More

Replacing Damaged Sections of Carpeting

When replacing damaged sections of carpeting, you'll need a carpet remnant or leftover of the carpet you're replacing. If you ...

Discover More

Find the Right Tool Right Away Finally, a homeowner's set that includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects at an affordable price! The tools are stored in a molded case for security and portability. Check out Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Repairing a Leaking Tank

Over time just about everything will leak, and your toilet is no different. Perhaps one of the more annoying locations for a ...

Discover More

Adjusting the Water Heater Temperature

One of the easiest, though slightly annoying, jobs that you can do around the home is adjusting the temperature of your water ...

Discover More

Using a Hand Auger

If you have a particularly nasty clog in your drain, then you may want to consider using a hand auger. Hand augers (or snakes ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 3?

2012-10-26 21:19:27

Jerome

We do have an inside tap (two in fact for the same outside shut off valve. I wonder whether you shut the tap after draining it or leave it open. The tap is a foot long and reaches inside where it can be kept warm. I live where the winters are very severe.


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)