Winter weather can be brutal. And one of the most common winter problems homeowners face is frozen outdoor faucets. If you’ve got a frozen outdoor faucet, don’t panic.
So, what to do if an outdoor faucet is frozen? The easiest thing to do if an outdoor faucet is frozen is to cover it with towels or rags and put some hot water onto the towels or rags until they are totally soaked. I recommend you repeat this process as required. After it’s softened, you can run the water and then shut the valve inside your home to drain the water supply.
This guide will help you take the right steps to thaw out your faucet and get it back in working order. Remember, safety should always come first; if there is any chance of water damage, contact a professional.
If you are looking for ways to winterize outdoor faucets without shut-off valves, I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.
How To Tell If An Outside Faucet Is Frozen?
Temperatures less than 20°F (about -6.66 Celsius) for several hours increase the risk of having a frozen faucet, according to the National Association of REALTORS.
Here are a few signs to help you detect if your outside faucet is frozen:
- Check the handle: If it is frozen, it may be difficult or impossible to turn.
- Check the spigot: It may be difficult or impossible to turn if frozen.
- Try running water through the faucet: If the water pressure is low or nonexistent, this is a sign that the faucet may be frozen.
- Feel the pipe leading to the faucet: If the pipe is cold to the touch, this is a sign that the water inside may be frozen.
- Check for frost on the pipe leading to the faucet: If there is frost on the pipe, this is a sign that the water inside may be frozen.
- Check for ice in the sink or basin: If there is ice in the sink or basin, this is a sign that the water in the pipes may be frozen.
- Listen for a hissing sound coming from the faucet: If you hear a hissing sound, this may indicate that water is escaping from a crack in a frozen pipe.
Here’s What To Do If An Outdoor Faucet Is Frozen
Let’s discuss what to do if an outdoor faucet is frozen. Here are some steps you can take to thaw it out and get your water running again.
Step 1: Identify the Problem
The first step in dealing with a frozen faucet is to identify what part of the faucet is causing the problem. Is it just the spigot? If so, you’re in luck—it’s generally easier to thaw out a spigot than an entire pipe system.
However, if your outdoor pipes are frozen solid, you need to take additional steps before attempting to thaw them out.
Step 2: Turn off the Water Supply
Once you know where the freeze is occurring, turn off the water supply that feeds into it. This will help prevent any major flooding or water damage once you start trying to thaw out your pipes or faucet.
Before trying to thaw your frozen faucet, make sure you turn off the main water supply. This will prevent flooding or other damage if something goes wrong during the process.
To do this, locate the main water shut-off valve and turn it clockwise until it stops. Once the valve is closed, open up the outdoor faucet so that any remaining water can escape before you start thawing it out.
Step 3: Use Heat to Thaw Out Your Faucet
Now that you have turned off the main water supply and opened up your outdoor faucet, it’s time to start unfreezing it.
The most effective way to do this is by applying heat directly onto the frozen area of the spigot using either a hair dryer or a heat gun on its lowest setting.
Make sure not to leave either unattended while they are turned on; also, be careful when applying heat directly to metal fixtures like valves and handles, as they could become too hot and burn you!
Ensure not to use too much heat, as this could damage your pipe or faucet. Apply heat for about 10 minutes and then try turning on the valve again; if it still doesn’t work, repeat this step until it does.
Alternatively, you can wrap your faucet with rags or towels:
Wrap old towels or rags around the handle, spindle, and supply pipe. Make the wrap as snug as possible while leaving room around the faucet opening to let thawed water flow freely.
Carefully and slowly pour hot water over the wrapped spigot. Remember that it may take several attempts before the spigot begins to thaw.
Important note: Don’t ever attempt to unfreeze an outdoor faucet with a blow torch or open flame, as it can damage your home’s exterior and may cause severe personal injury or even start a house fire.
Step 4: Check for Leaks After You Unfreeze Your Faucet
Once your outdoor faucet is unfrozen and working again, you should check for leaks around where your pipes meet up with your house wall.
If any leaks are present due to freezing temperatures causing them to expand slightly, use waterproof tape or caulk to seal them up before turning on the main water supply again.
If all else fails and nothing seems to be helping, then contact a professional plumber who can help assess and repair any more serious issues, such as broken pipes or valves, which may require more specialized tools and expertise than regular homeowners usually have access to.
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Unfreezing an outdoor faucet might seem daunting, but with these simple steps outlined above, anyone can get their frozen spigot back in working order in no time!
Remember – safety should always come first, so if you’re ever unsure about anything when attempting DIY repairs like this one, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for assistance as soon as possible.
With patience and caution, you should be able to get their frozen outdoor faucets back up and running quickly.