Reuben Saltzman

Forgot to Winterize Your Outside Faucet(s)? Here’s what to do.

Did you forget to winterize your outside faucets this year?  I did.  It doesn’t matter that I posted a Fall Maintenance Checklist reminding homeowners to shut off water to their outside faucets nearly two months ago… I still forgot.

It’s not the end of the world.  In most cases, there’s enough heat leaking out of your home to prevent your outside faucet from being destroyed and your water pipe from bursting.

Use a hair dryer or a heat gun to thaw your faucet.   This will take a long time with a hair dryer, but it’ll happen eventually.  If you choose to use a heat gun, be very careful.  That’s not a high-powered hair dryer, it’s a heat gun.  It’ll blister paint, melt vinyl siding, and start paper on fire.  The two infrared images below show a heat gun on the left and a hair dryer on the right; note the temperatures shown at the top left corners of images.

Heat Gun Hair Dryer

So anyways, use one of these tools to thaw the faucet.  You’ll know the faucet has thawed once you can turn the faucet handle to open it.  If there is ice inside the pipe and faucet, you’ll first get a little trickle of water coming out, but the water coming through should quickly break the ice loose and you’ll soon get a normal stream of water coming out of the faucet.

Once that happens, you can winterize your faucet as normal.  Click here for instructions: How to winterize outside faucets

Author: Reuben SaltzmanStructure Tech Home Inspections


4 responses to “Forgot to Winterize Your Outside Faucet(s)? Here’s what to do.”

  1. Don't Let Your Outside Faucets Freeze | Structure Tech Home Inspections
    November 25, 2014, 5:22 am

    […] POST UPDATE 11/25/14: Forgot to Winterize Your Outside Faucets?  Here’s What to Do […]

  2. Kassie
    December 3, 2014, 2:35 pm

    I live in Minnesota. My house has one outdoor faucet. It is turned off but the handle has completely broken off, like just a little nub left. Today I found an icicle hanging out of the spout. Now what do I do? Can I risk waiting to replace the faucet until spring?

  3. Reuben Saltzman
    December 3, 2014, 2:44 pm

    @Kassie – No, I don’t recommend you risk waiting until spring. Have a plumber take care of it now.

  4. Brandon Manuel
    December 8, 2014, 1:14 am

    Thanks Reuben for this interesting information.

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