How to Turn Off Outside Water for Winter

If you live in a climate where the outdoor pipes might freeze, how to turn off outside water for winter is a crucial things to know. 

Keep your outside pipes in tip top shape with our how-to information below! 

How to turn off outside water for winter

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How to Turn Off Outside Water for Winter 

How do you keep outside water pipes from freezing?  The simplest and fastest way is to turn off outside water for the winter.   There is a separate shut-off valve for outside faucets in 99% of homes.

Should outside faucets be left open in winter?  If you live in an area that reaches freezing or below freezing, you should turn off your outdoor water supply.  Do you have to shut off water to your hose in the winter?  I mean, you don’t have to, but if you want to keep your outdoor faucets from freezing and bursting, it’s the best preventative thing you can do each winter. You can even cover your outdoor faucets/hose bibs with a specially designed cover.

Even if you’re reading this and remember that you forgot to turn off outside water to your faucets, you can still turn the water off after reading this how to article. 

How to Turn Off Outside Water for Winter: Steps 

So, how do I turn off my outside tap valve? How to turn off water to outside spigots or faucets is easy! Follow our simple steps below to get it done.

  1. Remove the hose and any attachments from the faucets.   
  2. Find your water shut off valve, they are usually in the basement or crawlspace.  Each faucet may have its own water shut off valve.  When you find it, close the valve off by turning the handle to the right and making sure its closed tightly. 
  3. Turn on each faucet and run them until no more water comes out.  Once fully drained you can move on to step 4. 
  4. Do some preventative care and wrap your faucets in pipe covering or pipe tape to keep the snow, cold and frost from coming into contact with the faucet. 
  5. Enjoy your work! 

Where is the Water Shut Off Valve for Outside Faucet

You can easily turn off the water supply from outside your house. The outdoor faucet shut off valves are usually located in your basement or crawl space. In older homes, they may be located in the ceiling. Sometimes, plumbing and building codes don’t require a shut off valve for the outside faucets.

How cold does it have to be for outside pipes to freeze? 

According to, the temp would have to be about 20 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 consecutive hours.  This is easy to accomplish in some parts of the country, so everyone should turn off their outside water supply and insulate their pipes before the cold weather hits.  

Do all Outdoor Faucets Have Shut Off Valves?

No! If you don’t have shut off valves for your outdoor faucets, you will have to remove and drain your hoses and then cover your faucet with plumbing tape, pipe insulation, or buy a cover specially made for faucets.

How to Turn off Outside Water Valve How to Video

Here is a video on how to find and turn off outdoor water shut off valves.

What Does the Outside water Shut off Valve Look Like?

There are several different valves that can be used, here are some of them to look for when shutting off your outside water.

I Don’t Have a shut off Valve for Outside Water, What Should I Do?

Some houses don’t have shut off valves. Or maybe you can’t find it. Without a shut off valve, there are still steps you can take to make sure nothing gets damaged outside over the winter months.

Drain and remove any hoses, sprinklers, fountains and other outdoor plumbing. Store them in a warm place so they don’t get damaged.

Shut off the main water supply to your house. The main water supply shut off valve is located usually at the front of your property, under a cover. You don’t need any special tools to turn it off. You just turn the lever counterclockwise 90 degrees or so.

Then, open up the faucets and let all the water drain out of them. Close them back up and then cover them, either with a specially made cover or you can even use thick rags. You don’t want them exposed to the elements over the cold winter.

Once the faucets are drained, turn the main water supply back on and your good to go.


How to turn off outside water for winter is a simple task that every home owner and renter should know if you live in a colder climate. 


    Is there a separate shut off valve for outdoor faucets and water supply?

    Some outdoor faucet shut off valves are in the basement, some are located near the outdoor faucets. They are usually labelled too.

    Do you NEED to turn off outside water in winter?

    Always be cautious when it comes to plumbing because repairs are expensive. While you don’t need to turn off the water supply to your outdoor plumbing, you run the risk of it freezing and bursting which can easily happen overnight when temps dip below 20 degrees for 6 hours or more.