What you should do now to winterize your outside faucets.

In Minnesota and in places that have freezing weather in the winter, it is necessary to winterize your lawn faucets before the temperatures start to drop. When temperatures begin to drop below freezing, water inside your pipes will freeze.

As it freezes, it can expand and can cause the pipes to burst. But, if you properly winterize them, allowing air to flow freely inside, the pipes will not break.

Many lawn faucets are frost-free models, so the stem is already stopping the water 12” or more from the outside on/off handle. Then on the inside of the house, there is another valve that you can turn off during the winter.

This valve can be either a round-handled wheel valve that you turn all the way to the right to shut off, or it can be a ball valve that has a lever turned parallel to the pipe when it is open and perpendicular to the pipe when it is closed.

In either case, the first thing you want to do is turn that inside valve off. That valve has a small bleeder on the side, a little cap that you unscrew all the way off to drain the water from that section of the pipe towards the lawn faucet.

St Paul Pipeworks recommends leaving the cap off and storing it in a small plastic bag that you attach with tape or tack to the wood joist right above the valve so you do not lose it throughout the winter.

Once you have removed that cap, you then go outside and open the lawn faucet handle on the outside of the house. That gives you airflow on both sides of the valve so that if any water gets in throughout the winter and freezes, it can expand, and your pipes will not burst. It may seem wrong, but you want to leave the outside faucet open all winter.

The last important step in this process is to disconnect the outdoor hose from the faucet. One of the worst things you can do is leave the hose connected. This can cause more trouble because there is nowhere for the water in the hose to drain.

St Paul Pipeworks recommends bringing the hoses inside into the garage or into the basement. A trick to avoid a dripping messy task is to take the two ends of the hose and screw them together so that no water leaks out while you are transporting the hoses for winter storage.

There is an older silcock style of faucet that is not frost-proof. If you have this style, you must be certain to turn off the inside valve and use the bleeder to drain away any water.

In the springtime, when you are ready to begin to use your lawn faucets again, all you do is reverse the entire process. If you have any questions about winterizing your lawn faucets or are looking for a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today

What do I do about frozen Pipes?

Outside Faucet Winterizing Checklist

  • Turn off the valve in the basement quarter turn clockwise so that the handle is perpendicular to the water piping.
  • Open the brass cap on the side of the turn-off valve. Water will come out of the hole on the side of the brass drain cap. (It is possible to totally unscrew this cap. Taking it off is OK, as long as you don’t lose it. You’ll need it in the spring when you turn things back on.
  • Go outside & open the lawn faucet. Opening is turning it counterclockwise as you face it. This will slowly drain any remaining water between the inside shutoff’ valve and the lawn faucet.

Outside Faucet Spring Re-open Checklist

  • Turn the outside lawn faucet off. Turn the handle clockwise.
  • Hand-tighten the brass drain cap on the side of the basement shut-off valve.
  • Open the basement shutoff valve. The handle will now be “inline” with the water pipe.

Yours Truly,
Matthew Dettwiler
Social Media Manager

FAQs: Winterize Your Outside Faucets

FAQ 1: Why is it important to prepare my lawn faucets for winter?

Answer: Preparing your lawn faucets for winter is crucial to prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting, which can lead to costly water damage and plumbing repairs. Frozen faucets can also disrupt your outdoor water supply, making it difficult to maintain your garden or lawn during the colder months.

FAQ 2: When should I start preparing my lawn faucets for winter?

Answer: It’s best to start preparing your lawn faucets for winter in the fall, ideally before the first freeze. By doing so, you can ensure that your outdoor plumbing is protected from the cold temperatures that can cause damage to pipes and faucets.

FAQ 3: What steps should I take to winterize my lawn faucets?


To winterize your lawn faucets, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the water supply to the outdoor faucets.
  2. Disconnect and drain any hoses or attachments.
  3. Install faucet covers or insulating sleeves to protect against freezing.
  4. Insulate any exposed pipes leading to the faucets.
  5. Ensure the faucets are tightly closed and not dripping.

FAQ 4: Can I use any materials to insulate my lawn faucets?

Answer: Yes, you can use a variety of materials to insulate your lawn faucets. Common options include foam faucet covers, insulating sleeves, or even towels and blankets. The key is to provide a barrier against the cold and prevent freezing.

FAQ 5: What if I forget to prepare my lawn faucets for winter?

Answer: If you forget to prepare your lawn faucets for winter and freezing temperatures are in the forecast, it’s not too late. Take immediate action by turning off the water supply to the outdoor faucets and opening them to drain any remaining water.

This can help prevent freezing and minimize the risk of damage until you can properly winterize them. However, it’s always best to plan ahead and avoid this last-minute approach to protect your plumbing effectively.

How to Winterize Your Outside Faucets