I am trying to winterize an outdoor hose bib that is fed from a valve in the warm area of the building. The valve is a stop-waste valve that looks like it was installed backwards, so it is just a ball valve for my purposes.

A stop-waste ball valve on a water line, labeled to show the arrow on the valve is pointing to the supply side

The line past the valve was full of air when I found it last spring. I opened the valve and used the spigot through the warm months. Now that winter is approaching, I need to remove this water again. How was that water removed before?

The only solutions I have come up with are forcing compressed air into my water supply lines through the spigot (ew!) or installing a drain valve after the existing valve. Do I have other options?

Diagram showing a supply water line pass through a ball valve, and then a wall, to an external spigot

  • 1
    A second valve will probably be best, especially if put in the right way this time.
    – crip659
    Nov 18, 2022 at 20:03
  • 2
    I would grab a propane torch, some solder and something to protect building materials from heat, and correct that installation fault. Nov 18, 2022 at 21:38
  • 1
    Definately installed backwards, see the arrow molded in the side.
    – Jasen
    Nov 19, 2022 at 9:00

3 Answers 3


The simple option: Unsolder the valve you have, turn it around, solder it in place, use the drain built into it.

I have no idea why you'd think "add a drain valve" rather than that.

The other simple option - turn off water upstream of this valve, use the drain with this valve open, close the drain and this valve, turn the water back on upstream of this valve - an involved process, but no soldering or adding anything. That is almost certainly "how the water was removed before."

  • 3
    Not everyone knows how to sweat pipe. (Which is why I'm pausing to add that "sweat" in this context means solder.) And depending on what's around it this might not be the best place to learn. Or it might be. (Strong tip: instant-start trigger-operated propane torches make this task a whole heck of a lot simpler. I resisted until I had a connection in a tight corner... then kicked myself for having gone cheap earlier. Also, if out of practice consider getting some scrap pipe and joints and practicing, and in that case also consider a new valve rather than reusing one; it's easier.)
    – keshlam
    Nov 19, 2022 at 16:03

I find that if I close the inside valve, them open the outside tap just the right amount, surface tension is enough to get flow started and drain the pipe well enough.

  • I have used this method successfully but I wouldn't rely on it where there is a long section of vertical pipe outside as shown in OP's diagram. In that case it's worth the extra effort of installing a drain correctly.
    – jay613
    Nov 19, 2022 at 17:48
  • If the uninsulated pipe isn't sloped down, then yes, you need to drain it another way. IIt should have been installed sloping down, if at all possible, for exactly that reason.
    – keshlam
    Nov 19, 2022 at 18:08
  • In OP's picture, the outdoor pipe is vertically rising, as far from sloped down as it is possible to be!
    – jay613
    Nov 19, 2022 at 18:21

The only solutions I have come up with are forcing compressed air into my water supply lines through the spigot (ew!)

Why "ew!"?

Option 1

You could insert a 1/4" or 3/8" vinyl tube into the spigot and pump or siphon the water out.

Option 2

You can buy a push-to-connect ball valve with drain plug and install it pretty easily.

enter image description here

Option 3

Install a saddle valve and drain as needed.

enter image description here

Option 4

De-solder and re-solder the existing/new valve in the correct orientation.

  • 3
    Saddle valves are an abomination. A leak waiting to happen, IMHO.
    – spuck
    Nov 18, 2022 at 20:56
  • 1
    Agree 100%! Don't use a saddle valve. Quick and easy until they leak and cause a huge mess.
    – jwh20
    Nov 18, 2022 at 21:24
  • sadble valves work twice, three times if you are lucky.
    – Jasen
    Nov 19, 2022 at 9:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.