How to Prevent a Frozen Outdoor Faucet

Image of an exterior wall faucet

Winterizing your outdoor faucet, also known as a hose bib or water spigot, is a simple project. If it’s not done correctly, the consequences could be serious. A frozen outdoor faucet can cause serious water damage to your home and property. Luckily it is easy to prevent a frozen faucet if you follow these tips.

Why Do I Need to Winterize my Outdoor Faucets?

Water expands as it freezes, so if water is inside your pipes when the temperature drops below freezing, the ice can grow too large and burst the pipe. While the problem may not be immediately obvious (especially if the leak is inside the wall), a clear indicator that there’s an issue is if there’s water spraying outside.

If you see water around the spigot or inside your house, call your local plumber immediately! Waiting too long to fix the issue can result in extensive damage to your home.

Thankfully, avoiding a frozen outdoor faucet is easy. Winterizing is not expensive and you can do it yourself. A few minutes now can save you time, money & frustration.

3 Steps to Avoid a Frozen Faucet During Winter

1. Disconnect Your Hoses in Fall

This step is important because a connected hose holds water even when the faucet is turned off. When the temperature drops, the water freezes inside of the hose and pipe and can burst. We often see instances where the break happens in winter but people don’t notice until spring when they turn on the outdoor faucet. Depending on where the break is you can get water spraying inside or outside your home when you turn the water on.

Outdoor Faucet Cover

Outdoor faucet covers are easy to install and protect from freezing during winter.

2. Use an Outdoor Faucet Cover

Disconnecting the hose is important, but doesn’t completely solve the problem – you also need a faucet cover. Luckily, most hardware stores carry inexpensive Styrofoam covers that keep your faucets isolated and protected from the winter elements.

Simply purchase and install based on the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure to secure it tightly in place. This little step can save you a lot of frustration and potential water damage.

3. Install a Frost-Free Faucet

If you have already experienced problems or are looking for a more permanent solution, you can talk to your plumber about replacing your faucet with a frost-free spigot. This is an outdoor faucet designed to operate in freezing temperatures. You still need to disconnect the hose in the winter. A frost-free faucet can break if the hose is left connected because the water stays trapped in the faucet head and pipe. You won’t notice you have a problem until spring when you turn on the faucet.

A few preventative steps today can save you time, money and effort in the future. Call a trusted plumber right away if you suspect that your faucet is broken or you need help winterizing it. They will help you decide what works best for you, your family and your home. You can also check out our article on 10 ways to prevent frozen pipes for more things you can do to protect your home this winter.