How to Turn Off Your Outdoor Faucets Before Winter

If you live somewhere cold and have a house, you're going to need to turn off your outdoor faucets each year before winter. If you don't, bad things will happen. (Specifically, your pipes could freeze and then burst, creating a gigantic — and expensive — mess.)

I usually do this the first time the local weather forecast shows lows of 32° or colder. You could probably get away with waiting until it gets a little colder because of the heat coming from your home, but that's a gamble that I don't think is worth taking.

The process is super simple. Here are the steps:

1. Find the knob indoors, on the other side of the wall from your outside faucet. Turn that inside knob (the top should go all the way to the right) to close it. Turn it all the way, but stop when it stops and don't try to test your strength by forcing it as far as it will go.

closing the inside part of the faucet before winter

2. Go outside and open the faucet (by turning the top of the knob all the way to the left). Some water might come out — not a lot, it shouldn't be more than a dribble — so have a small bucket handy to catch it if the ground can't get wet.

turning off the outdoor faucet before winter

3. Once the water stops (if there is any), close the faucet again so that you don't make a big mess in the spring when you reopen the indoor faucet.

4. The last step is to go back inside and open the release valve all the way. (Note: Not all faucets have release valves. If yours doesn't, you can skip this step.) Again, there might be a bit of water, so have a cup or bucket handy. Give it enough time to be sure there's no more water, and then close it. Again, turn it all the way, but don't force it so tight that you won't be able to reopen it with your hands.

That's it. You're all set for winter. Go grab a mug of coffee, sit back, and watch the fire. You've earned it.

This post was published on November 5th, 2016 by Robert James Reese.