Plumbing, Heating and Pool Repair Guides

what happens when outdoor spigots freeze?


WeT HeaD KnowledgeWhen the weather gets below freezing even with just the wind chill your outdoor spigots have a good chance of freezing if they are not properly winterized. Most outdoor faucets will actually have a valve located inside so that you can shut the water supply off on the inside of the building to protect the valve from freezing. This is commonly known as a “isolation valve”.

If you do not have an isolation valve then you might have what is called a “frost free” hose bib. The frost free hose bib is designed to help protect the outdoor spigot from freezing with a special design. In many states where the temperature drops below freezing the plumbing code will require frost free hose bibs. If you live in a warmer climate like Florida chances are you will not have a frost free hose bib.

When an outdoor spigot freezes it can possible crack and then when it thaws it will leak, but this will not happen every time and it only will get damaged if the freeze is deep and cold enough.

Sometimes you will get lucky and the hose bib / outdoor spigot will not crack, break or even get damaged and when the water gets warm enough it will just thaw and everything will be ok.

The best thing you can do is to have a licensed plumber install a frost free hose bib and an isolation valve so you will be protected in advance in case of cold weather.


  1. My outdoor spigot is not working at all. Hose might have been connected during winter (Indiana), can’t remember, but I thought the danger there was it developing a leak. Mine won’t do anything when you turn it on and there’s no leak at all.

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