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Winterizing Outdoor Water Faucets

I forgot to winterize my garden hoses, they are still attached to the outside faucets of the house. It's been snowing and in the 20s for days now. What should I do? I'm afraid of my pipes freezing.


By Kathy from Wooster, OH

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January 7, 20100 found this helpful

Take the hose off & drain them-
Many homes have an interior shutoff valve for exterior faucets; typically located on the interior wall of the house, directly behind the exterior faucet. The valve will either be a gate valve (round, wheel-shaped), or a ball valve (one with a lever).

Turn a gate valve clockwise to shut off the water supply to the outdoor water faucet; turn a ball valve a quarter turn. If the valve is difficult to turn, apply a lubricating spray, and then turn with an adjustable wrench.

A cold weather cover will provide extra protection. Try this: cut a hole in the center of the cover to an empty plastic butter or margarine tub, large enough to fit over the faucet. Place the lid over the faucet, the lid top should be against the house. Secure the lid to the house siding using screws or tacks.


Wrap a strip of fiberglass pipe insulation around the faucet, and secure with masking tape. Push the plastic tub over the faucet, and snap it onto the lid.

How to Install Insulating Tube on Interior Water Pipes
The quickest, easiest method of insulating exposed interior water pipes is to use insulating tube made for that purpose. This will help prevent frozen pipe problems caused by prolonged freezing temperatures. Use insulating tube on exposed pipes under the sink, against outer walls, and in the basement.

One great feature of this type insulation is that you do not need to remove it after winter. In fact, leaving the insulating tube on pipes year-round makes your home more energy efficient. It reduces energy used by the water heater to heat cold water. It also reduces noisy pipe sounds.


Interior pipe insulating tubes come in a variety of lengths, diameters, and materials. Therefore, measure length and diameter of pipes before purchasing tubes. Standard-sized residential pipes are &frac;-inch and &frac;-inch.

Insulating tubes are pre-slit down the center; simply place around the pipe, peel off the tape located on both edges, and stick them together as you work your way down the length of the tube.

Use a utility knife to cut the tube to fit the length of pipes, and duct tape to cover seams of connecting tubes. Caulk and/or weather strip around pipe entry points that travel through exterior walls.
good luck.

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January 9, 20100 found this helpful

Excellent advise! Thank you very much! I especially like the butter tub idea!

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January 13, 20100 found this helpful

I have mine covered and they froze solid but I have not had any pipes to burst.

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