How to Winterize Outside Faucets

Outside faucet

To prepare your home for the winter, it is important to learn how to winterize outside faucets. Without proper preparation, your home could be damaged by frozen pipes and require expensive repairs. Learn how to prepare your outdoor faucets for winter to protect your home.

Importance of Preparing Outdoor Faucets for Winter

Outdoor faucets must be prepared for winter and pipes drained of water because of the potential of residual water to freeze and burst pipes. Many homeowners have faced expensive repair bills for burst pipes when they failed shut off water and drain pipes in the fall. Even if you have not turned off the outside water supply for winter in the past with no ill effects, you are gradually damaging your pipes; over time, the pipes will weaken and burst if you don't protect the faucets and pipes.

Removing the water hose from an outside faucet is not enough to prevent possible pipe freezing; the water must be shut off from the outdoor water supply source. If the water is simply turned off at the faucet, it may still flow gradually in the pipes and eventually freeze.

Winterizing Outside Faucets

Winterizing outside faucets is easy for anyone to learn and does not require plumbing experience or any heavy physical lifting. Shut off the outside faucets before the first freeze of the season.

Tools Needed:

Wrench

Foam insulation sheet

Insulate faucet cover (optional)

Rope

Directions:

  1. Make sure the outside faucet is turned off before you begin. Remove all water hoses and drain them. Coil hoses and store them in your garage.
  2. Shut off the water valve that feeds water to the outside faucets. These are often located in crawl spaces, basements or garages. If you have a gate valve (round-shaped), turn the valve clockwise to shut off water. If you have a lever ball valve, shut it off with a quarter turn; it may be necessary to use an adjustable wrench to turn off the valve.
  3. Turn on the outside faucets to drain them completely of standing water.
  4. Remove the brass faucet plug, which controls water flow from the faucet without turning off the faucet. This allows the water to drain more effectively. After the water empties completely, replace the plug.
  5. Place an insulation cover over the faucet, following product instructions. Make your own cover by cutting a margarine tub to size and placing it over the faucet. Wrap foam insulation material over it and secure it with rope. Cover any exposed outdoor pipes with foam insulation material and fasten it on with rope. This will provide added protection to keep the pipes from freezing.

Shutting Off Outdoor Frost-Free Faucets

If you have frost-free faucets, your home winterizing process is much easier. Frost-free faucets with hose bibs are a relatively new invention designed to prevent water from freezing in pipes during cold weather by removing water from freezing air. They require minimal maintenance from homeowners.

Instructions:

  1. Turn off the frost-free faucet's interior valve.
  2. Remove the hose from the exterior valve.
  3. Open the faucet to drain any remaining water.
  4. Shut the faucet off.

There is no need to cover a frost-free faucet with insulation material or coverings.

Learn how to winterize outside faucets to protect your home. It takes less than 15 minutes and your outside water sources are ready for winter.

How to Winterize Outside Faucets