We recently bought a home built in 1970. The previous owner only used the home in the summer and drained the water every time he closed it down for the season. There is an outside water spigot and I spoke with the previous owner and he said he doesn't know how to turn it off for the winter. There are directions on the door that say to take a wrench and turn the screw that is 8" below the floor. I can't see the nut or screw even with a flashlight. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We are now well into winter, and I am terrified of a pipe cracking. The water pipe is covered in a large heating coil. I don't have the money to call a plumber.

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    Directions on what door? In any case, the first step is to find a valve on the line (which may or may not exist). If you're having trouble operating the valve once you find it, post a picture. If your pipes are covered in heating tape/cable, that will help reduce your risk of freezing - just make sure it's plugged in so it can turn on if temperatures get very low. Jan 7, 2017 at 4:57
  • Does the supply pipe for this outside spigot come out of the ground or from under the house on a pier and beam foundation? For these shutoff sytems to work, there must be two valves--one valve shuts off the water and another valve (located between the shutoff and the spigot) is then opened to drain the water from the line leading to the spigot. Where is this house--state and locality? Jan 7, 2017 at 13:19
  • Our 45-year-old house inn Dallas TX is on a slab and has two outside faucets on copper pipes coming out of the ground. I just cover them in winter freezing weather. There is a pair of valves in a 1 ft x 2 ft box in the ground which were designed to allow cutting off the supply to the outside lines and draining the water out of them, but the valves are corroded and inoperable. I suppose the two valves could be combined in one diverter valve with 3 pipes connecting to it that would be a 90 degree turn from one state to another. Jan 7, 2017 at 13:26
  • 30 or 35 years ago I tried to make the valves work and managed to shut off the water supply, don't remember if this was the supply to the house or the outside faucets. But I got it shut-off and then I couldn't get it to open. I had to shut off the water at the street (water meters in Dallas are in a hole next to the curb) and had to take the top off the valve to retract the gate. Be careful messing with a balky valve--you could break it. Jan 7, 2017 at 14:00
  • It could be that if the line to the outside faucet comes out of the wall of the house and and slopes down slightly, then it will drain if the supply valve is closed and the faucet is opened. In that case there would not have to be a second valve on a "T". Jan 7, 2017 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


Assuming you're going to be in the house and it's going to be heated all winter, this should do.

  1. Shut off water supply to house. There is commonly a valve in the basement for this.
  2. Open the water spigot outside.
  3. Open any spigot or sink below it and let the water come out until it stops.
  4. Close the water spigot outside and put one of those styrofoam covers on it from home depot.
  5. Turn water back on to the house.

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