December Home Maintenance To-Do List

Hose faucet protector
A hose faucet protector, like this one, can help prevent pipes from freezing.

To-Do #5: Winterize Outdoor Water Spigots

It’s important to drain and cover outdoor hose faucets to prevent the pipes and spigot from freezing.

Winterizing outdoor faucets:

  • In your basement or crawl space, locate the pipe that supplies each outdoor faucet, and follow it back until you find the shutoff valve.
  • Close the valve controlling each faucet.
  • Open all the faucets on the outside.
  • Hold a bucket under each shutoff valve under the house, and open the small drain cap located just above the shutoff valve to allow the water in the pipe to drain out.
  • Repeat this step with every faucet shutoff valve.
  • Close the drain caps, and turn off the outdoor faucets.

Winterizing faucets without shutoff valves

If your home’s outdoor faucets don’t have shutoff valves, you may have frost-free faucets, which don’t require draining. These faucets are installed at a slight angle with the valve located inside the foundation to allow water to drain out of the pipe when not in use.

If you’re not sure if your faucets are frost-free, have a plumber check to be sure.

If your faucets are not frost-free, and you can’t shut them off and drain them, your best bet is to install an insulating foam cover. These covers fit on the outside of the faucet and cinch tightly against the house with a foam seal to help keep the faucet from freezing.

While insulating covers aren’t as effective as draining faucets, they can help keep your outside spigots and pipes from freezing when the temperature drops.


  1. Thanks for this info. I had no idea filters had different “sides.” Your site (and TV series) has helped this senior citizen more than you’ll ever know. Please keep up the good work. Merry Christmas!

  2. I have a 1950’s Ranch home with detached garage. There only 3 joists (~20′ – 2×4) in the garage running side to side. Each of them are cracking at knot holes. What is the best way to strengthen/fix (sister another 2×4, or bolt 3″x2″ steel angle and bolt together)??


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