Winterize Hose Bib Outside: Why Is It Necessary?

Preparing for winter? You might have bought some winter outfits, regulated your house heaters, and are all set to bear cold snaps. But what about your home’s water system? It comes at the top while preparing for winter in Canada. We have an organized procedure for how to turn off the water in winter.

The procedure holds easy steps and doesn’t require any technician to do this task. You can do it easily by following these steps. Deactivate the valve that has the main water supply, unplug the outside hoses, flush any remaining water to avoid freezing inside pipelines, deactivate any splitters (if any), and remove the bleeder cap. Now, you are saved from accidental floods due to neglect.

But remember that due to your home’s heating systems and insulated cover, most water pipes inside are safe during the winter. Water pipes in exterior walls, basements, and other exposed locations are particularly vulnerable to harm. Here is a guide on how to get your plumbing ready. 

So let’s begin!

Should You Leave Your Outside Faucets Open During Winter?

Your external faucets and hose bibbs must be winterized adequately to safeguard against burst pipes. If you reside in an area of freezing temperatures or below that, you can be affected by this. 

Switch off the outdoor water supply, unhook the hose, and drain any leftover water from the system to thoroughly winterize your hose. As an option, add freeze-thaw outside faucets to eliminate the requirement for yearly hose bibb winterization.

Before freezing weather arrives, external faucets and hose bibbs must be turned off. Forgetting to do so might lead to pipe bursts and ice jams. To prepare your hose bibbs for the winter:

  • Disconnect the water supply from your house to the hose 
  • Any garden hoses should be disconnected and stored
  • Connectors and other hose bibb accessories should be taken off and stored
  • To release any accumulated water in the pipe, unscrew the hose bibb valve
  • Drain any residual water from the bleeder valve at the water supply valve

You can entirely protect your outdoor faucets from freezing by following these instructions. You won’t have to worry about plumbing problems or burst pipes throughout the winter.

What Takes Place If Your Outdoor Faucets Need to Winterize?

If you forget to shut off the water to your outside faucets before the winter weather hits, the water inside those pipes might freeze hard. Pipes may break, as a result, causing enormous water damage to your property as they flood inside. 

By correctly winterizing your hose bibbs, you may prevent yourself from incurring countless dollars in drainage costs. Frozen pipes still have the potential to obstruct the flow of water into your house even if they don’t break.

Using an excellent pump to circulate water via your home’s pipelines might result in higher energy expenses. The motor will have to operate significantly harder for the water to flow through the pipes clogged with ice.

Types of Hose Bibbs

Hose bibb faucets feature a bibb for distributing water and are connected to a water supply by a hose. They may be used as a soda fountain, to pull water for pans and containers, and to fill them with water. They’re also excellent for giving animals easy water availability.

Conventional hose bibbs and foldable ones that are simple to tuck away when they aren’t in use are just a few of the kinds and designs available. Some hose bibbs even come with a bottle opener, making it simple to open a drink can while on the road.

Conventional Hose Bibb

What does a conventional hose bibb mean and do? The tiny faucet on the outside of your home is the hose bibb. It functions like an outdoor tap and lets you stream water from inside your home outside. For various purposes, you may join your garden hose using this tap.

outside faucet

Retractable or Foldable Hose Bibbs

Are retractable hose bibbs worth it? A retractable hose reel helps simplify yard cleanup, plant watering, automobile washing, and cleaning inaccessible places. Even though they are more expensive, many believe they are well worth the expense.

Winterizing Hose Bibbs

When it gets cold enough (28 degrees or lower), ice might develop in the water system pipes that go to unprotected exterior faucets. Your exterior faucets may experience drainage problems from frozen pipes if they need to be adequately prepped for the winter.

There is another situation! Have you ever got ready for a long trip and frequently forget about your drainage system? You can come home to a flooded house without a steady water supply. Don’t worry! We have something for you. The possibility of water damage may be eliminated with a few doable procedures.

Thankfully, winterizing your exterior faucets requires a few simple steps:

How Can I Keep My Garden Hose From Freezing?

Identify each outside faucet’s shutoff valve and lock it!

The majority of us take great care to protect the plumbing system in our homes from freezing conditions, but occasionally something as easy as neglecting a garden hose connected to the outside may ruin all of our efforts.

Lock the shut-off lever that regulates the water supply to each outside faucet from within your house. If your shut-off valve is damaged by a cold snap, you won’t be able to halt the water flow if it isn’t placed back from your home’s outside wall. 

Consider shifting your shut-offs if they are close to your house’s an outside wall so they may be better protected from freezing. Make sure your home is adequately heated in the interim, especially if you plan to be away for a long time.

In the previous ten years, insurance companies have handed out about $4 billion in complaints for frozen, broken pipes. Keep your house from becoming a disaster. Immediately remove any outdoor hoses, switchers, and other plumbing-related devices.

Why Disconnect Hoses in Winter?

You should disconnect, drain, and hang up your garden hose for the winter.

Your danger of a broken pipe increases when water expands into your faucet as it hardens in a connected and undrained line. Your hoses will also survive longer if you store them, and they will be less likely to break or leak when put under pressure the following spring.

What’s worse is that a hose nozzle may exert more strain on the pipes that attach to the hose. That implies that the drainage system in your home might be harmed! Hence, it’s quite necessary to disconnect hoses in winter.

When To Turn Off Outside Water?

Winterize your external faucets two weeks before the first average cold temps. It’s ideal for turning off water to exterior faucets at the end of October or the start of November in most US and Canadian locations that suffer a winter frost. Please don’t hold off until the initial freeze since it only takes six hours of extreme cold to solidify pipes and cause a burst.


  • Your hose bibbs should be winterized two weeks before the first typical October freeze
  • Try to winterize in October or November if you live somewhere with frigid winters
  • Regardless of whether your pipes are insulated, it would help if you winterized your outside faucets

The remaining water should drain from the pipe by opening the faucet and flowing away.

It’s crucial to empty the exterior faucet because if there is any water left between the indoor closed valve and the outdoor faucet, it might freeze and damage the fixture and closed valve. Any remaining water in the pipe’s little section can expand if it freezes by producing an air gap inside of it.

Check Out How to Winterize Your Hose Bib:

Steps In Turning Off Outside Water During The Winter

Pipes might need help throughout the winter. This is because its volume can grow by up to 10% when water freezes. Therefore, if it happens, the pipe may be put under pressure of roughly 3000 psi, which might cause it to shatter or explode. 

Additionally, the connections and faucets may malfunction, resulting in pricey replacements and fixes. Water supply lines that connect to outside faucets or hose bibbs are particularly susceptible to damage.

Equipment Needed

Here comes the most important question! Again, when there is no need for a plumber to turn off the outside water, there is also no need for equipment to play with the knobs. You, yourself, and your hand to shut off the valves and turn the outside water off.

It’s pretty easy, and you have to memorize a few things. These things are tackled under the following procedure. 


It’s easy to winterize your hose bibb just by shutting off the water flow. Is there any need to wait for a plumber? There is no need to hire a plumber because you can complete this task yourself. Typically, it just takes a few minutes to complete. This is how you do it:

Deactivate The Water Supply Valve

Track down some outside faucets’ water supply valves. Every home has its own independent water supply valve. These valves are typically found in a basement, mechanical room, utility room, or cellar. They may be situated close to your hydrometer in some instances. Turn the supply valve to the right (clockwise) until it is tightly shut to turn off the water system.

Some installations may have a single central supply valve regulating the water flow to all external faucets. In other instances, each hose bibb has its own water supply valve. Each outdoor faucet should have a supply valve, so ensure they are all totally sealed.

Cut Off Your Hose

Step outdoors and unplug the outside hoses from each hose bibb. Because they may hold onto water, hoses are vulnerable to breaking and degradation if the water within freezes. After detaching your hose, wrap it and put it up to ensure it is dry.

  • It would help if you unplugged the hoses from all of your outside faucets
  • For the winter, wrap your hoses and keep them inside

During the winter, keep your unplugged hoses in a shed, crawl space, or other safe location. It’s crucial to remember to complete this step since keeping your garden hose clear of snow and ice can prolong its life.

Disconnect Splitters and Other Bibbs Fixtures

If your hose bibb has a splitter that enables two hoses to be attached to it, you should take it out of service. Splitters and other extra fixtures may cause water to accumulate in the pipes. As a result, pipes may rupture and ice accumulate.

  • Your hose bibb should be cleared of any outside faucet accessories, such as splitters
  • Nozzle fixtures should be kept till spring

Dividers and other outdoor faucet fittings should be stored for the winter. You can securely rejoin them and your hoses once spring hits.

To Remove Any Leftover Water, Open The Faucet

Open the bibb valve after taking out your hoses and fittings. This will enable any water caught in the water pipes to escape. The water will soon stop flowing. Remember that you only drain the residual water from the lines because the water supply valve is already shut off.

  • To remove any residual water, open the hose bibb valve by turning it in a leftward, counterclockwise direction
  • This stops any water in the lines from accumulating and harming your plumbing system 
  • Throughout the winter, keep this valve open

This keeps any obstinate water from getting stuck in the pipe. Before you restart the water supply, you can water shut the valve in the spring.

Blow off the Bleeder Valve

After draining most of the water from the pipes, head back to the water supply valve you shut out earlier. Search for a bleeder valve on the line under the supply valve lever. Bleeder valves are frequently protected by a bit of metal covering. To discharge any residual water from the pipe, remove this bleed cap. Close the exterior faucet after replacing the lid.

If your outside faucet doesn’t have a bleeder cap, you can keep it on to avoid pressure building in the lines if stagnant water does freeze. Even if you have more recent, frost-free faucets, following these easy instructions to safeguard your pipes will increase your sense of security during the chilly winter.

  • Recheck the water supply valve that manages the hose bibb’s water flow
  • Look beneath the water supply valve’s lever for a little metal bleeder valve
  • Remove the metal bleeder cover to drain the water
  • Any extra water that the bleeder valve produces should be collected in a bucket

It’s preferable to place a bucket beneath the bleeder valve when working inside before removing the bleeder cap. Even though there won’t usually be much water from this valve, it’s best to catch it and then let it wet your floor. Your water line will be dry and prepared for the winter once you’ve finished this step.


When Is It Safe To Turn On Outside Water?

Winters in Calgary can oscillate between bitter winter and a comfortable blizzard. But it does not imply that winter is ended just because we could be experiencing a couple peaks in the double figures. 

A gale may arrive as swiftly as a harsh winter. However, as long as you exercise caution, turning on your outside faucets for an hour shouldn’t be an issue so you can rinse down your yard or wash your Lamborghini.

But remember that if you keep a close eye on the weather, you can leave your outside water on for most of the wintertime and turn it off when it becomes freezing. No matter when you decide to cut off your water, you may utilize your outside faucet as soon as springtime weather returns.

What To Do If Hose Bibb Freezes?

You must act quickly to defrost your hose bibb if it freezes. Take the following actions to defrost your frozen hose bibb:

Activate the hose bibb spigot (adjust the handle to let the flow in that way)
– It would be best if you kept the faucet on for defrosting even though the hose bibb is iced and there is no movement of water
– Curl some used towels or napkins around the root of the hose bibb behind the nozzle
– Slowly soak the fabric in hot water
– Continue to fill the cloth with hot water, and inspect the nozzle occasionally to see whether any water is trickling out
– Till the water flows freely, leave the hose bibb tap open

Use a blow dryer or heat weapon, if you have access to one, to provide heat to the pipe and aid in defrosting your frozen hose bibb.

How Long To Run Water After Shut Off?

It is wise to use water only after turning on faucets, especially for drinking. Let it flow! Run the water for three to five minutes if your service line is made of Lead. Allow the water to soak for 30 to 60 minutes if your home does not have a lead support line. Hence, allow the cold water to flow for at least half an hour once all faucets have been opened. 

Cleanse your home’s toilets two or three times at this time. If Lead is present in your channel or pipes, draining the Ice Water may eliminate it. As you better know, Lead contents are more significant in old or contaminated water.

Is It Necessary To Turn Off The Water When On An Extended Vacation?

Shut off the water before leaving your house!

It would be best to perform a visual examination of your plumbing faucets and appliances before you go on vacation. Your heater’s reservoir may be developing leaks. Its breach might result in water, the growth of mould, and broken equipment.

Nobody wants to flood in their house. Crises may and do occur, and if you are away, there is little you can do to stop them or at least minimize the harm. Therefore, help yourself! Remember to turn off the main waterways to your house whenever you plan for a vacation for longer than 24 hours.

You might cause a split to burst severely throughout your trip. To avoid breaking the bank, you can imply, “Prevention is better than cure” to avoid breaking the bank. Hence in the case of a plumbing malfunction, it’s the best approach to prevent extensive water damage.

In other terms, keep an eye out for water problems and take care of them before they become expensive to fix. Experienced plumbers advise scheduling plumbing maintenance at least once every two years.

Should I Drain My Pipes To Keep Them From Freezing?

Allow the cold water to trickle from the tap serviced by uncovered pipes when it is icy outdoors. Lines may avoid freezing by flowing water through them, even in a stream.

Draining plumbing fittings in your home is occasionally essential, even though it’s not a typical process. Draining them will help you to: 

Resolve issues with the water hammer
– Preparing for summer by closing your vacation property
– Repairing or expanding the plumbing lines in your house are examples of substantial plumbing repairs

Final Thoughts

Who is unaware of the severity of winter in Canada? To conclude, everyone knows you freeze even inside your house. Then what about the water supply pipes leading outside of your house? It can solidify your home’s water system thoroughly. Hence it is reasonably necessary to avoid this situation.

Due to the cold temperatures of winter, not all houses can stop pipes from cracking or exploding. You know the main reasons for getting your water pipes blocked: it is so because you neglected to winterize your exterior faucet in advance, and you just discovered this too late. 

Be sure to contact us immediately if you have any queries or would like more information on how to turn off outside water for winter. We’ll be happy to help you!

Sabine Ghali

Sabine Ghali

Helping real estate investors build wealth over time

Sabine Ghali, Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, Award Winning Real Estate Broker and an Entrepreneur at heart. Sabine is on a mission to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Gulf News, among many others.