How to Turn Off Outside Water Spigots for the Winter

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An outside spigot can potentially freeze in the winter.
An outside spigot can potentially freeze in the winter. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The convenience of an outside water spigot can transform into an expensive plumbing repair with the onset of winter. Outside spigots can freeze, causing damage, if the water supply is left on to the spigot during the winter. Even a small amount of water in the outside plumbing of the spigot is a potential problem. You can ensure that a possible plumbing problem is averted with an outside spigot by implementing a simple procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • Shop vac
  • Rag

Implement the shut-off procedure for an outside spigot at the first sign of frost at the beginning of fall. This will ensure that the spigot is adequately prepared before the first big freeze.

Locate the shut-off valve on the water line to which the spigot is attached. If the structure has a basement, you can most likely find the shut-off valve on the other side of the wall from the spigot. If there is no basement, you may find an access panel that, when removed, will provide you access to the shut-off valve. Turn the handle or knob on the valve completely clockwise to shut off the water supply.

Open the spigot completely to allow residual water to drain out of the line.

Place the end of a shop vac hose over the spigot and stuff a rag around it to fill in the spaces. Turn on the shop vac and let it run for three to five minutes to ensure that any moisture in the line and the spigot is removed. Leave the spigot open slightly in case the shut-off valve fails during the winter and the line fills with water. There is less chance that running water will freeze. Check the spigot and shut-off valve regularly during the winter to catch any potential problem.

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