How to Protect Outdoor Faucets from Freezing

Outdoor Faucet

You check the weather and realize freezing temperatures are headed your way. That means coats and gloves for you, but what does it mean for your pipes? Frozen pipes are no one’s idea of a good time, and neither is a frozen faucet. So, how do you protect outdoor faucets from freezing when the temperature plummets?

Thankfully, there are a few ways you can protect your outdoor faucets and pipes from freezing and bursting. We’ll explain why it’s essential to winterize your outdoor faucets, tell you how to do it, and answer some common questions along the way:

  • Why You Should Care About Winterizing Your Outdoor Faucets
  • Six Steps for How to Protect Outdoor Faucets from Freezing
  • Frozen Outdoor Faucet FAQs

Why You Should Care About Winterizing Your Outdoor Faucets

When the temperature dips low, most of the pipes in your home are protected. Indoor pipes receive heat from your HVAC system and are nestled inside nicely insulated walls. Outdoor pipes don’t have the same luxury. They’re constantly at risk of freezing, leading to burst pipes and severe water damage.

The good news is you can avoid calling for emergency plumbing services by winterizing your outdoor faucets. Many freeze-proofing tasks can be done on your own without spending a dime.

How to Protect Outdoor Faucets from Freezing in Six Steps

Protecting your outdoor faucets from sub-freezing temperatures is easier than you might have thought. Here’s how to do it in six steps:

  1. Remove the garden hose from the faucet in the fall: Remove the garden hose before temperatures drop. That way, you won’t have to worry about going outside in the cold or forgetting until it’s too late.
  2. Shut off the upstream water supply valve feeding the outdoor faucet: Shutting off the water supply valve prevents water from traveling through the pipe. This way, when the temperatures drop, there won’t be any water in the pipe to freeze. Typically, you will find this valve several feet from the outside wall.
  3. Drain any residual water from the faucet and pipe: After shutting off the water flow, run the faucet to get rid of any water still in the pipe.
  4. Install an outdoor faucet protector: A foam faucet cover adds a layer of insulation between the freezing air and the water in your pipes. You can find these covers in hardware stores or online.
  5. Insulate the pipe leading up to the faucet: Use foam insulation to cover any exposed plumbing connected to the outdoor faucet.
  6. Install a freeze-proof faucet: If you’re looking for a more permanent solution or need to keep your faucets running during the winter, install a freeze-proof faucet. These faucets are made of materials that insulate the water in the pipe; for this reason, they can better operate at sub-freezing temperatures.

Frozen Outdoor Faucet FAQs

Should I leave my faucets dripping during a freeze?

You may have heard that keeping your faucets dripping during freezing cold days can prevent frozen pipes. In general, this is true, but it’s not always the best solution, especially for outdoor faucets.

The reason you’re told to leave your faucet dripping is simple - rivers don’t freeze, but lakes do. Water in motion is less likely to freeze than water that isn’t moving. When you let your tap drip, the water in your pipes is constantly moving, preventing it from touching a freezing pipe for too long.

However, when temperatures drop well below freezing, leaving your tap dripping is more risky than protective. A dripping tap can form large icicles or make slick patches on walkways. And if it’s cold enough outside, the water can freeze over the faucet opening, leading to ice buildup in the pipe.

Overall, it’s better to shut off your water and empty the outdoor tap. This way, there won’t be any water in the pipe to freeze.

Turn to Mr. Rooter Plumbing for More Winterizing Solutions for Your Residential Plumbing

Knowing how to protect outdoor faucets from freezing can save you from a stressful, expensive situation. But if you’re already dealing with frozen pipes, the local experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing are here to help. Our team offers reliable, professional plumbing services to keep your plumbing working smoothly, even in the coldest winter weather.

Call us today to connect with your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing location, or schedule an appointment online.