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How To: Winterize your outdoor plumbing

Winter is coming! It’s highly unlikely you’ll be using your outdoor water sources during the cold season, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon those poor faucets before the first snowfall. Prevent your outdoor pipes and faucets from freezing (and bursting!) with our how-to guide. If your efforts are thwarted by a bad storm, use our directory to find a plumber to fix it!

Store your garden hoses before it’s too late

You can’t remove outdoor plumbing pipes, but you can winterize your water sources by taking any garden hoses outside, draining them, and storing them in the garage or basement.

In order to do this, lay the hose straight on the ground and simply let the water drain out. This way, when the cold weather comes, even though the hose will be in storage, your winterizing will prevent any leftover water in the hose from freezing and damaging it.

While the hose is draining out, take a walk through your backyard to see if there’s anything else you should tuck away in the garage or basement.

Hoses are prone to freezing in the winter. Be sure to drain them out before the winter season arrives.

Hoses are prone to freezing in the winter. Be sure to drain them out before the winter season arrives.

Drain the shut off valves

Most homes, especially those in cool climates (yay, Canada!) have interior shut-off valves inside the home for outdoor faucets. If your home has these, then it’s wise to shut them off in order to prevent your exterior faucets and pipes from freezing. Here’s your step-by-step guide on what to do:

  1. Shut off the valves inside.
  2. Place a bucket under the drain cap, open it, and let the water drain out.
  3. Go outside and turn on the exterior faucet and wait for it to dry out.
  4. When the water is finished draining, turn off the exterior faucet and close the drain cap inside the house.


Your winterizing efforts will prevent loose water from freezing, similar to what you would have done with the exterior hose.

Add insulation

Draining the faucet is only one step in the winterizing process. Your faucet will still have to sit outdoors while you’re staying cozy inside. To protect your pipes from freezing in the winter, wrap them with insulation tubes, which can be purchased at a hardware store.

For exposed faucets, slip on an insulation cover. They should be able to protect your equipment during the winter season.

Of course, a plumber could also make suggestions as to what materials will work to prevent freezing, while protecting your plumbing from getting damaged this winter. Use our directory to find a plumbing contractor to call for advice!

Why pipes freeze in the first place

You’re doing all this work, even going to the store to purchase the material and calling plumbers to ensure you’re doing the right thing. But how do the pipes freeze in the first place? When it’s cool outside, frozen water increases water pressure between the blockage and valve, causing the pipe to burst and break. It’s not a result of ice expanding in the pipe.

That’s why it’s so important to winterize your outdoor plumbing before the first snowfall.


Ready to get started? Visit a local hardware store to pick up the materials you need, or call a plumbing contractor to do the work for you! Our directory features a list of contractors, image galleries and customer reviews to read.

Protect your home from the gruesome winter today!

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