How to Keep an Outdoor Faucet or Spigot From Freezing

How to Keep an Outdoor Faucet or Spigot From Freezing
Photo: Andrey Zyk, Shutterstock

Even though you’re probably not using your outdoor faucet or spigot as much during the winter as you do during the summer (or at all), that doesn’t mean you can just forget about it for the whole season. That’s because if your outdoor faucet, pipes, and the water inside them freezes, it could result in burst pipes, and potentially cause some serious damage inside your house.

One option is to replace your current faucet with one that’s frost-proof, but today we’re going to focus on how to keep your existing setup from freezing in the winter. Here’s what to know.

Disconnect your hose

First, remove your hose from the faucet if you haven’t done so already. This is important because in addition to your pipes, your hose provides another place for water to freeze and cause damage. Your best bet is disconnecting your hose and storing it in a garage, basement, or shed until the spring.

Turn off the water

The next proactive thing to do is to shut off the water. To do this, start by locating the control valve on the water supply pipe leading to the outdoor spigot. In most cases, the control valves on houses with metal pipes are brass balls, and can be found a few feet from the outside wall.

Just turn the valve clockwise (until it stops) to turn the water off. The control valve can also have a lever handle. If that’s the case, turn the lever so it is perpendicular to the pipe to shut off the water supply. Once the water is off, open the spigot to drain any water still left in it, and/or your pipes (so that doesn’t freeze either).

Put on an insulated faucet cover

The last step in the process is to install an insulated faucet protector. These are typically made of foam, inexpensive, and widely available online or in hardware stores. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, and when you’re done, make sure that the cover is securely in-place over the faucet.

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