Turn off outdoor water spigots to prevent freezing

With the cold weather upon us now is the time to prepare your outdoor pipes to prevent freezing and bursting. If you have any hose-based systems (like the one I wrote about this summer), you’ll want to drain and/or disconnect those, but your outdoor spigots are also vulnerable since the pipes typically run outside of your home’s insulation.

Usually it’s enough to simply make sure the faucets are shut off, and it doesn’t hurt to cover the spigot with an insulated outdoor faucet cover, but in most homes there’s probably a better option: turning off the water INSIDE the house.

It’s always a good idea to know where the water comes into your house. In most cases, you’ll find a couple of shut-off valves on that pipe. In my case I have 4 shut-off valves – one for each of the two outside spigots, one for the hot water heater, and one for the humidifier attached to my HVAC system. Generally, the process for properly turning off the water is:

  1. Turn off the water at the shut-off valve inside the house
  2. Open the spigot outside
  3. Next to the shutoff valve there should be a small bleeder nozzle that opens up the pipe to drain the line. Generally most water will flow out of the spigot, but you should have a bucket handy for the small amount that may leak out of the valve. In my case one valve was completely dry, and the other drained about 2 pints.
    1. turn-off-outdoor-water

      That’s it! Now you should be able to rest easy and not worry about bursting pipes in this bitter-cold weather.

      As a side note, do meteorologists just invent new phenomena to explain “freezing-assed-cold”? Last year it was the Polar Vortex, and this year it’s the Omega Block. Sheesh.

Posted by Matt Chiste
November 18
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