How to protect outside faucets from freezing

Frozen faucet in winter. Outdoor faucet frosted

When it comes to pipe freezing, hose bibbs, spigots, and outside faucets are most at risk. When these pipes and faucets freeze, homeowners don’t normally discover the damage until Spring when they start using the water outside. The damage can be as small as a cracked hose bibb that needs to be replaced, or as bad as a pipe burst in the basement. There are some simple steps you can take to protect your outside faucets so that you can start off Spring without a plumbing problem.

  • Remove, drain, and store hoses and connectors. This is the easy step. Simply remove anything attached to the hose bibb/faucet and drain any water. Then store the hoses or connectors (like splitters) in a climate-controlled area like a basement or garage. We are often tempted to leave hoses connected for as long as possible, but it is important to accomplish this step before nighttime temperatures drop too low.
  • Check for leaks or needed repairs. If your hose bibb is dripping, even a little, it will be very prone to freezing. This would be a good time to inspect, repair and replace any outside faucets.
  • Shut the water source off and drain. Locate the shut off valve for each faucet and close it. Then open your outside faucet, hose bibb, or spigot all the way open so all the water can drain. Leave it open until the spring when you turn the valve back on. If you have a frost-proof hose bibb this step isn’t necessary.
  • Insulate your hose bibb. If you live in a particularly cold climate this is a good extra step to take! Simply buy a hose bibb cover and cover the faucet/bibb. They are normally made out of thick foam, and are great at providing that extra layer of protection. This is also a good step to take for frost-proof hose bibbs if you live in climates with prolonged freezing temperatures. Better extra safe than sorry.

If you need help locating your hose bibb’s shut off valve, are interested in installing a frost proof hose bibb, discovered a hose bibb leak, or just have a question, give Pratt Plumbing a call! Most questions can be addressed over the phone and we are always available to help.

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