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How to Summerize (De-Winterize) Your Hose Spigot

Published April 10, 2023
Written by Eric Smith
How to Summerize (De-Winterize) Your Hose Spigot

Our Master Tradesman’s Easy-to-Follow, Disaster-Free Guide to Summerizing a Spigot.

Does warm weather mean it’s safe to start watering again? Not quite. First you’ll need to prepare your hose spigot (this process is called “summerization”).

Summerizing your spigots is pretty straightforward once you have the steps in front of you. And yes, you can do it yourself*. But there’s a right way to do it that’s more than just turning the handle and calling it done.

*Assuming your spigot was properly shut off last winter, you should have a similarly easy time de-winterizing it. More on this later.

Question: Do I really need to summerize my spigot before using it?

If you haven’t used your water hose or sprinkler at all since last summer, then the answer is YES—even if you have a “frost-free” spigot!

Your hose has been hibernating (like a bear). Carelessly screwing the hose in and wrenching the water on for the first time all year is a super risky thing to do, even if you’ve gotten lucky before.

This is because you have no idea what the internal plumbing situation looks like, or if a connected pipe froze during that last cold snap, for example. Failure to follow these steps could damage your spigot and, in turn, your greater plumbing system, which may finally result in damage to your home itself.

Can You Summerize Your Own Spigot (Outdoor Faucet or Hose Bibb)?

Yes, but with a couple of rules to mind:

1 – Summerizing should be a two-person job.

A properly winterized hose faucet has the water turned off inside the basement of your home. This prevents freezing by ensuring there’s no latent water flow in the piping between the outdoor spigot and the indoor valve. The problem is that restarting your basement valve may cause issues that cannot be seen from outside. Having two people work together (one inside, one outside) speeds up to process considerably.

2 – How you should turn your spigot back on depends on how you turned it off.

Say you’re approaching your spigot for the first time you-can’t-remember-how-long, and you notice the garden hose is already attached to it. The first thing you should ask is: “Has anyone else in my home been using it?” If not, that means it was left attached all winter long. You should probably have a professional out to make sure everything goes smoothly (and handle any problems in case it doesn’t).

The 3 Steps to Summerize Your Spigot (Fast Method)

If you winterized properly last year + have somebody ready to help summerize, you’re ready to get started.

Step 1

After reattaching the drip cap (if applicable), have person A positioned in the home’s basement to turn on the water valve that runs to the spigot. (The drip cap or drip valve releases water pressure and drains pipes after winter closure. If your valve does not have one, don’t worry about it for now.)

Simultaneously have person B operate the spigot from outside to confirm no sputtering or spraying of the side of your home while person A observes for in-home leaks.

Step 2

The next step is to test your hose faucet with a watering hose attached. Person B should attach the garden hose to the spigot and turn it on.

As water begins running through the hose from the faucet, minor back-pressure is applied across the entire hose faucet. Person A should remain in the basement and observe for any leaks that could be causing damage which Person B would be unable to see.

Step 3

The final step is to re-pressurize the hose. Have person B attach a sprayer or other end nozzle to the garden hose and begin running the water once more. This will test the upper limit of pressure your hose will have to endure all year round. Turn the sprayer on and off several times, giving intervals of a few moments in between each time.

You did it!

If you got through these steps without a problem, you should be good to go for the entirety of the spring and summer seasons. However, it’s always a good idea to circle back some hours later and repeat the entire process one more time, making sure there aren’t any drips inside or outside, before proceeding with your regular summer hose usage.

If you encounter any issues with your spigot or piping during this process, don’t stress. Team Austin’s experienced plumbers are always ready to troubleshoot for you! Just book a visit online in real time and we’ll see you soon.

About The Author: Eric Smith
Eric Smith is a 3rd generation State of Wisconsin Master Plumber, Water Well Pump Installer, Plumbing Contractor, Water Well Contractor, HVAC Contractor and Water Treatment Expert and the owner of Austin Plumbing, Heating & Air.