Frozen Outdoor Faucet? Here’s How to Fix the Problem

Last Updated on April 14, 2020 by Diana Rodriguez-Zaba

Here in Chicago, homeowners deal with summertime pipe bursts every year. This plumbing problem isn’t limited to freezing weather, but freezing weather isn’t limited by the calendar. Plummeting temperatures can happen in the middle of a beautiful Illinois spring. And it can happen in your area, too.

You probably don’t give much thought to a frozen outdoor faucet this time of year. It can happen overnight, result in rupture pipes, and leave you waking up to a flooded house. Do you know what to do if the water spigot is frozen?

How to Thaw a Frozen Outdoor Faucet: 4 Simple Steps

It wasn’t that long ago that the city was hit with springtime snow and freezing temperatures. We never get used to winter weather in April, but we do need to be ready when it happens.

A frozen outside water spigot can cause serious water damage inside your home. When a faucet freezes, it creates tremendous pressure that can damage spigot components and rupture pipes. Fortunately, you can rescue an outdoor faucet from a spring freeze with these four simple steps.

1. Open the Faucet

Open the faucet handle all the way. This unseats the interior stem washer from the valve seal so that water can begin to flow once you’ve thawed the frozen spigot.

2. Wrap With Rags

Wrap old rags or towels around the handle, spindle and supply pipe. Try to make the wrap as snug as possible, but leave room around the faucet opening so that thawed water can flow freely.

3. Soak With Hot Water

Carefully pour hot water over the wrapped spigot. Slowly saturate the material, stop, and check for trickles from the faucet. It may take several tries before the spigot begins to thaw.

4. Confirm Water Flow

Once you have a steady stream of water, let it flow for several minutes. Turn the faucet off briefly, and then turn it on again. Water moving through the spigot should thaw any frozen sections of pipe behind the faucet.

water flowing through outside faucet after being thawed
Confirm water flow after thawing the faucet

You can also fix a frozen outdoor faucet by thawing it with a hair dryer or wrapping it with heat tape. Both methods require an electrical plug-in, so be careful. If you can’t use either device without multiple extension cords, take the safer route by using hot water and towels.

Don’t ever try to thaw a frozen outdoor spigot with a blow torch or any type of open flame. You can damage your home’s exterior, cause serious personal injury or even start a house fire.

How to Prevent a Frozen Outdoor Faucet

During our cold Chicago winters, we all take precautions to keep pipes from freezing in our homes and businesses. During the spring, our best late-freeze prevention strategies start with the weather forecast.

outside faucet insulation tubes
Pipe insulation tubes

When the meteorologist predicts a temperature plunge, keep your outdoor faucets safe with these simple tips.

• Disconnect and drain hoses, and move them to inside storage.

• Close shut-off valves for outdoor faucets, and then drain each one.

• Wrap spigots with insulating tubing, or protect them with waterproof faucet covers.

If a Spring Freeze Ruptures Your Faucets and Pipes in Chicago, We Can Help

The extent of water damage caused by a frozen faucet often catches homeowners by surprise. Pipes behind the outdoor spigot are part of the network that supplies the rest of the house. That connection can lead to burst frozen pipes inside walls and flooding throughout your home.

servicemaster by zaba trucks
When you see our trucks around the city, you know we’re on a mission to help restore someone’s home or business!

Keep an eye on the weather. Follow our prevention tips, and check outside faucets regularly to make sure they’re in good condition. If a spring freeze catches you off guard, you can rely on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. We take care of burst pipes in Chicago homes and businesses year-round.

Just give us a call: 773-647-1985