How to Winterize Outside Garden Hose Taps

Winter is upon us once again bringing cold temperatures. Many fearless Canadians will be eager to hit the slopes, or grab the hockey stick and hit the ice with some friends. And others would love to just pull the blankets over their head and wait for spring.

With the change in weather come certain changes that we need to make around the house to prepare for winter’s freezing temperatures. When it comes to plumbing, you will want to winterize outdoor garden hose taps. Make sure that your outdoor faucet is closed and the remaining water is drained out to prevent freezing in the extreme cold. This helps to avoid burst pipes and water damage during the winter.

The four steps to shut off your outside hose taps are as follows:

  1. Disconnect all hoses from outside taps
  2. Shut off the water valve inside the house
  3. Open hose bib outside the house (you should get very little, or no water at all)
  4. Open the bleeder cap on the valve (have a cup or towel ready to catch any water) close the cap and leave until spring

Hopefully you were able to get this done before the temperature plummeted. If not, don’t worry, just follow this winterizing procedure now. The damage may not have happened yet. We recommend doing this for the “freeze-proof” hose bibs as well if you have a shut-off valve installed. Sometimes builders won’t install a shut-off valve thinking that it will never freeze. We would say that most of the frozen hose taps that we end up having to replace in the spring are the “freeze-proof” style.

Here is a simple, step-by-step guide on clearing the water from the pipes that feed your garden hose, in preparation for winter freezing.

It’s very important to make sure that all the water has been drained out of the piping, especially if you have a long run of pipe on the outside of the house. Any dips in the pipe will collect water and freeze, so make sure that the whole length of the pipe is supported and sloped downward to allow it to drain out completely. If the shutoff inside the house is difficult to close, or, if you follow these steps, but notice that the water is still dripping continuously from the outside then you will need to have this valve replaced.

We hope you all have a great winter, however, you choose to spend it. And if you have any plumbing problems or questions, we’re only a phone call away.

Learn more about our plumbing services including outdoor hoses here.