STOP YOUR SPIGOT (OUTDOOR FAUCET) FROM FREEZING
Freezing water in pipes can create costly damage. Spigots (outdoor faucets) in particular are prone to this kind of damage. It helps to prepare your spigots for winter before freezing temperatures arrive. You can do this by taking a few easy steps before winter arrives.
Close the Outdoor Supply Valve
Many outdoor spigot(s) have an indoor safety valve that allows you to drain the water from the outdoor section of the pipe, reducing the chance of the pipe bursting when trapped water freezes. Shutting off the water to your outdoor pipe is also handy if you need to replace the spigot or outdoor section of the pipe. You only have to turn off the safety valve for that fixture instead of shutting off water to the entire house.
- Find the pipe inside your house that leads to your outside spigot(s). This may be in your basement, garage, or crawl space.
- Shut off the water supply to your outside spigot(s). Look along the length of the pipe for the safety shut-off valve. Most valves are either round, metal knobs or straight handles that are 3 to 4 inches long. In some older homes, the shut-off valve may be a square post (no handle/knob) at the top of a pipe junction. You can use clamp vise-grips or pliers onto the square post and turn it clockwise until it stops.
Remove Attached Hoses and Empty the Outdoor Pipe
- Go outside and remove any hoses that may be attached to the outdoor spigot(s). Empty them of any remaining water, and store them in a safe place such as your garage.
- Turn on the exterior spigot(s) until the water stops flowing. This releases water trapped in the pipe, which reduces the chance of the pipe(s) freezing and allows you to safely replace or make any repairs to the existing spigot(s), if necessary.
Cover Pipe with Insulation
To protect your outdoor spigot(s) and pipes from sub-zero temperatures, you need to insulate them. Cover the spigot(s) and exposed pipe with the insulation of your choice.
- There are various options for insulating your pipes. They include fiberglass and foam insulation sleeves that are made to fit around piping. There are also heating tapes on the market that you can wrap around any size.
- For the spigot(s), there are outdoor spigot covers. These are generally made of foam, plastic, or insulated outdoor sock covers.
You can find most of these products in home improvement centers.
Tip: Any pipes running through unheated places such as basements and attics must also be insulated.
Tip: If you have underground sprinklers, make sure to drain them out as well by following manufacturer recommendations.