Winter is coming!  In Cincinnati, freezing temperatures can sneak up on you overnight. Owning a home means taking an hour or two to get things in order to prevent damage when the weather changes. One commonly overlooked or misunderstood item in the winterizing process is your outside hose faucet. As a home inspector, we sometimes find damage from a faucet that has leaked for an extended period of time or hear about a recent catastrophic break from a panicking real estate agent. Taking a few minutes can prevent costly damages.

Here is a quick guide to help you get your hose faucets ready for winter.

  1. Disconnect the garden hose. I like to put it in the shed for the winter.
  2. Determine if your faucet is Standard or Frost Free – The various types of houses in the Cincinnati area makes it hard to predict which type of faucet you may have. Check them all!

Faucet Types

  • Frost Free – No need to shut the water off.  You’re good to go!
  • Standard Faucet
  1. Find the shutoff valve for this faucet somewhere inside the house. This is usually just inside the home, but could be in a number of places depending on the age of the house. You may have to trace the pipe from the outside faucet.
  2. Shut the valve off
  3. Go back outside, open the faucet, and leave it open until Spring.

That’s It!

On a side note – Homeowners of vacant houses like to shut the water off to the house in the winter to protect the plumbing. Our lawyer and insurance company made it very clear that we have no business turning on a main water valve. Since we don’t really feel like causing a flood and paying to repair water damage we thought it best to take that advice! If you schedule a home inspection with us in the winter be sure to have your agent verify the water is on prior to the home inspection.

frozen hose faucet