Preparing Outside Faucets for Winter

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Protect your outdoor faucets from freezing.
Protect your outdoor faucets from freezing. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Prior to the cold weather, prepare your exposed outdoor pipes and faucets to keep them from freezing. Without protective wrapping, the water in outside pipes can freeze, breaking the pipes and even causing flooding inside or around the house. Before freezing temperatures set in, take some simple precautions to protect your pipes. Foam pipe insulation is available at most hardware stores during the winter months in either the garden or plumbing area of the store.

Things You'll Need

  • Caulk
  • Foam pipe insulation or newspaper
  • Duct tape

Fill in any spaces between the wall and the exterior pipes with caulk.

Disconnect and empty any garden hoses from outside faucets.

This is optional: Shut off the water valve controlling the water to the outside faucets only, and turn on all of the outdoor faucets to drain them of water. Some houses do not have a separate water control for the outdoor faucets. If you only have a main water valve for indoor and outdoor faucets, skip this step.

Wrap foam pipe insulation or newspaper around exterior pipes. Secure these with duct tape.

Turn on the outdoor water faucets after freezing weather has ended to check for freezing in the pipes. If the water flows freely, you properly protected your pipes, but if it does not flow and you have both the main water valve and the outside valves open, you might have a frozen or burst pipe. Shut off the main water valve and contact a plumber for assistance in locating and thawing the line.

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