How to Turn On Outside Water Faucet


In most cases, the outside water tap may fail to function due to corrosion after long periods without use or freezing during the winter season.

Once spring has set in and the tap is unfrozen, open the shut-off valve. Turn on the main water supply to the outside and turn the outdoor faucet to start your watering activities.

This article will also guide you on simple practices to carry out as winter sets in to prevent freezing damage to your outside faucets.

How to Turn On Outside Water Faucet

How to Turn On Outdoor Water Faucet

Your outdoor tap may have jammed due to freezing or corroded parts. Once you turn on the outside water faucet handle, it tends to rotate but does not allow the water to come out.

For a seamless process, let’s look at the various tools and equipment you need to turn on a water spigot.

Tools Required

  • Valve setter
  • Pipe wrench
  • Ductile handwheel
  • Round nut grabber

Tools used may highly depend on the type of valve at the place. Follow these steps on how to turn on the outside water faucet that is frozen.

Step 1: Confirm that All the Ice is Melted Away

Confirm that All the Ice is Melted Away

Check whether the spout is ice blocked. If blocked, you can use an electric heater or blow hot air to melt the frozen water. Heat the valve too for ease of opening.

Once you melt away the ice, proceed to close the outside gate valve.

Step 2: Close the outside faucet

Use a suitable gate valve to close the tap as dictated by the type of your valve. If you had closed the valve during winter, check to confirm the same.

Go back into the house and locate the outside faucet shut-off valve.

Step 3: Open the Outdoor Faucet

Open the Outdoor Faucet

Follow the water line back into your house to locate and open the shut-off valve. Open the handle using the nut wheel opener or the nut grabbing machine to turn on the outside water supply.

Be careful to open the valve without causing stem or washer damage. Apply the specified torque to avoid breakage.

For the medium and small-sized valves, use your hand to open them. For the large valves, apply 30-torque if not specified.

Check the water supply line for possible leakages before you turn the water back on of the outside faucet.

Step 4: Check for Leakages

Check outdoor for Leakages

Having closed the valve for quite some time, the pipe and the valve might have leaked or busted due to pressure indifference.

Having the inside valve open and the outside faucet closed will allow you to check for any leakages.

Give the pipes a minimum of five minutes before opening the outside wall hydrant. If the pipes have any leakages, close the main valve and have them repaired.

If the water line is in good condition, proceed to open the outside faucet.

Step 5: Open the Outside Faucet

Being the first time to turn on an outside water faucet after a long duration of dormancy, consider using a handwheel. Carefully twist the valve to initiate the opening.

Be keen to check on the water pressure; low water pressure alerts you to check for possible leakages. If you turn the valve on and water doesn’t flow, turn it off and open it again. Repeated opening and closing will help unclog the pipe.

If the problem persists, consider changing the valve since the washer or the ball might be damaged. After successfully turning on the outdoor tap, proceed to have the hose pipe connected and water the flowers.

Why Won’t an Outside Water Faucet Work?

It is quite disappointing if you turn on the hose bib and water fails to flow from the spout. Several factors might be playing a part in your nonfunctional faucet.

1. Frozen Water Faucet

A frozen water faucet may not allow water to flow. This is common in the spring due to winter damage.

If you left your outdoor faucet undrained during the winter, you might have to open the faucet to turn on the outside water faucet.

2. Worn-out Washers

Another reason is worn-out washers that clog the spout. In this case, you need to change the handle and stem washer.

Open the handle and clean the clogging. Loosen the bolt holding the washer to the stem and replace it with a new washer.

3. Corrosion

corrosion in outside faucet

If you have not used your outside water faucet, there are chances that the stem and lever have rusted and corroded.

Forcing such a tap to open may cause breakages and joint disconnections. You can try tapping the valve to detach rust from the pipe threads.

Using a pipe wrench or spanner, open loose the joint and replace the corroded valve. If you experience problems opening the valve, apply some oil lubricants to ease the process.

Precautions for a Safer Process

  1. Insulate the hosepipe with woolen or cotton fabric. You can also use the old rags in your compound. This will help insulate the water from the freezing temperatures.
  2. Only connect the required length to reduce contact surface area.
  3. Disconnect the hose pipe immediately after you finish watering and store it at room temperatures.
  4. Close the shut-off valve in the house.
  5. Drain the excess water in the spout by blowing air using a hair blow dryer.

If the faucet is corroded, consider replacing the faucet to avoid rust contamination. For a rusted tap, use a pipe wrench to remove the faucet by disconnecting it from the main supply pipe.

Be careful not to damage the tap threads.

Fix back a new faucet and tighten it with a pipe wrench. Purchase the right size that will fit in the tap. Turn on the water spigot to confirm you have properly fixed the faucet.

Where is the Outside Faucet Shut Off Valve Located?

The shut-off valve is located inside the house to protect it from outside freezing temperatures.

The main reason for having the shut-off valve inside the house is to allow for closing the water pipe during the winter season to avoid winter damage.

It’s good to understand that the wall hydrant with its opening handle is located on the outside. However, the shut-off valve is set up inside the house where temperatures are favorable.

What Does the Outside Water Shut-off Valve Look Like?

What Does the Outside Water Shut-off Valve Look Like

For a better understanding of how to turn on the outside water faucet, it is important you know what the outside water shut-off valve looks like.

Water shut-off valves may vary from one homestead to another. The two standard designs are the 90 degrees and the straight valve.

The angled valves have the inlet and outlet at a right angle. The straight-line valves have the inlet and outlet in a straight line.

The most common shut-off valve types include the globe, gate, and ball valve. The globe shut-off valve uses a disc and a seat to close the water flow.

On the other hand, a gate shut-off valve uses a gate attached to the stem and handle. They apply the full port valves with the ball and seat mechanism for the ball valve.

Should Outside Faucets Be Left Open in Winter?

No. Outdoor faucets that are not frostproof should be tightly closed during winter. Closing the faucet’s valve helps prevent winter damage to your wall hydrant.

What are frost-resistant faucets? Don’t be perplexed; frostproof taps are specially designed to control water flow in your wall hydrant during winter.

The faucet uses a closing and opening mechanism to prevent the freezing of the water in the faucet.

As winter kicks in, drain all the water in the outside faucet and close the hose bibb valve. With the valve closed to the outside temperature, you can comfortably enjoy your winter without fear of frozen pipes.

Remember, freezing comes with the damage of damaging the pipes and valves due to its expansion. Ensure you tightly close the valve to prevent leakages that can lead to freezing.

Check with the directions indicated on the valve handle to close efficiently.

How Do you Unfreeze an Outside Faucet?

Before winter hits, it’s good to cover your outdoor faucet with an insulating tube to prevent the water from freezing.

To make it more effective, you need to drain the water in the pipe after closing the shut-off valve.

If you forget to carry out these procedures and the winter season finds you unprepared, don’t worry. We shall take you through one of the simple ways to thaw the water inside an outside faucet in winter.

  1. Start by closing the shut-off valve to ensure no water flows from the water source. The valve has indicators for opening and closing the valve. Ensure the handle is at the closed indicator point
  2. Before thawing the frozen water, it is always advisable to determine the volume of the frozen water. This is easy when you are using a clear hosepipe. If your pipe is opaque, you may need to feel the pipe’s hardness to approximate the frozen part. Since the frozen water expands, be keen not to break the tap while twisting the faucet.
  3. Thaw the frozen water in the faucet using an electric heater. To unfreeze the ice, you may improvise a heating gadget in your house, such as the water heater. Be keen not to burn the piping. Wrap the frozen pipe with heating tape to melt the ice.
  4. Finally, you may have to change the hose pipe in extreme damage from the water expansion. Check on the valve for any cracks or damaged washers that may require replacement.

Upon successful unfreezing, water your garden and other activities with a low pressure to prevent damaging the faucet. Under some conditions, you may have to put the outside faucet into direct sunlight for maximum ice melting.

No Shut-off Valve for Outside Faucet, Winter is Coming – What to Do?

Not every winter will find you ready and prepared to go. At times you may have to think outside the outbox and save a situation from the falling temperatures.

Your shut-off valve might be in place but faulty, or else you might not have one in place.

First, have the main water supply line closed. Locate the main valve at specific points. You may find it at the gate’s entrance or even in your background.

Disconnect the hose pipe and store it inside the house under room temperatures. Removing the pipe will reduce the surface area for freezing to take place.

You might notice that you have the sill cock is left protruding.

You need to cover the faucets with your old rags and form good insulation around the tap. Cover the exposed parts completely. The materials used should be dry and able to withstand low temperatures.

On top, place a Styrofoam cover to insulate the wrapping cloths. Make the wrapping airtight to prevent the faucet from freezing.

It is healthy to note that these steps will only offer mild protection to your faucet. It might be very efficient for long winter seasons with shallow temperatures.

Final Thoughts

We can all agree that turning on a frozen outside faucet is a task that may cause more harm than good. However, good news comes with the fact that you stand a chance of preventing water in your faucet from freezing.

Install a shut-off valve in your outside faucet to control water flow during winter. As winter clips end, turn on the shut-off valve and enjoy your watering sessions.

If you don’t have a shut-off valve in your faucet, follow the easy homemade process described in this article to protect your faucet from freezing.

Lisa Burks

Hi, I'm Lisa Burks, founder of the Sink Formula blog, and plumber of 5 years experience.

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