Outdoor Faucet

How to Find Shut-Off Valve For Outdoor Faucet

How to Find Shut-Off Valve For Outdoor Faucet

Hose bib.
Where is the shut-off valve for this outdoor faucet? Let’s try to find out!

Why do you need to know where the outdoor faucet shut-off valve is? Well, there are a few reasons that you might need to find it. Maybe there are cold temperatures in the forecast and you want to make sure your outdoor hose bib doesn’t freeze and crack like this very sad and broken brass shut-off valve:

Cracked, frozen outdoor ball valve.
This brass outdoor valve & pipe froze & cracked because it was not winterized before below freezing temperatures.

Or maybe it is the exact opposite. Maybe you purchased your home over the winter and the outdoor faucets had already been drained to prevent potential freeze damage. Now that the temperatures have warmed up, you need to water your dry plants or wash your car.

Watering the plants.
Time to water the plants!

But, alas! When you open the hose spigot outside, you get no water. We’ll need to find the shut-off valve quickly, before your garden starts to look like this:

Very dry ground.
So very dry…

Hopefully you are searching for this article for one of those reasons, and not because you currently have an active leak in your outside faucet. That would not be ideal for you, because if the leak is before the hose spigot itself and does not stop after you turn off the hose bib, you will need to go inside and find and turn off the outdoor faucet’s shut-off valve.

How to Find Shut-Off Valve for Outdoor Faucet? 

Regardless of the reason, we need to find the shut off valve for your outdoor faucet, so let’s get to work. There is no uniform, guaranteed area where you will find your hose bib’s shut-off valve. It will depend on where the builder or plumber was able to connect to the main water pipe for your whole house.

Do you have a basement? If so, that will be a good place to start. Let’s head downstairs. 

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It’s possible that you will get lucky and will find that the shut-off valve has been labeled by a previous homeowner (or the builder or a plumber who has serviced the system). If so, the label will probably say something like “hose” or “hose bib” or “outdoor faucet” or “spigot”.

Often, you are looking for an unfinished section of your basement. In newer homes, builders are generally pretty efficient in putting most valves in the same area.

If you are dealing with an older home, or if the whole basement is unfinished, you can start by looking at the inside wall on the opposite side of the outdoor hose spigot. You may just see the valve right there.

Hose bib shut-off valve in basement.
This outdoor spigot shut-off valve in the basement is not with the rest of the water shut-off valves for the house. It is inside the basement, right on the opposite side of the wall from the outdoor hose bib.

Or, if instead of drywall, your basement ceiling has drop tiles, you can try to remove a drop tile or two and look up in the ceiling to see if the shut-off valve for your outdoor faucet is up there somewhere.

Hose bib shut-off valve in basement ceiling.
This shut-off valve for the outdoor hose spigot is in the ceiling, behind the drop tiles. In order to view & access the shut-off, the drop tiles in the ceiling need to be removed.

If you don’t have a basement, your hose spigot’s shutoff valve may be in your crawl space.

If you don’t have a crawl space and you don’t have a basement, do not despair! We still have some options. I have seen hose bib shut-off valves in a cabinet under the kitchen sink. Or it could be in the back of a closet. 

Out of ideas? Do you know where your main water shut-off valve for the whole house’s water supply is? If so, your hose bib shut-off valve might be in that area.

If your basement is finished and you did not find the shut-off valve near your whole house water main shut-off valve, it may be in a dry-wall cut out that has crown moulding trim. It could be that the valve was accessible when the basement was unfinished, but then drywall was added later, so the contractors needed to put the valve in a box with a hinge, so that it could be accessed. 

It is also possible that your hose is connected to your irrigation system. In that case, as long as your irrigation mainline is on, you should have water running to the spigot. And if the irrigation shut-off valve is turned off, then the hose bib will not have water.

If you still can’t find it, you could try checking any documents that the previous homeowner left for you. Or if you or the previous homeowner have a regular plumber or handyman that you have hired over the years, it could be worth checking with them. They may have notes on your account that indicate where the shut-off valve is located. Or they might just remember having seen something on one of their previous visits to the home.

What Does my Water Shut Off Valve Look Like?

As far as what the hose bib shut-off valve itself will look like, they are usually fed by ½” lines. Depending on when your house was built, it may be a brass valve connected to a copper line. Or you may be looking for PVC or CPVC pipe. Just in case you are unfamiliar, copper is an orange-ish/brown metal pipe like this:

Basement hose bib shut-off valve.
This is a brass hose bib shut-off valve that is connected to copper pipe.

PVC pipe is white plastic. And a PVC ball valve sometimes look like this:

PVC ball valve.
This is a PVC ball valve connected to PVC pipe. It is not an outdoor faucet shut-off valve. It is 1” pipe, but outdoor hose bib shut-off valves are usually ½”. If your hose shut-off valve is PVC, it might look like this, only smaller in size.

Or this:

PVC ball valve.
This is a PVC ball valve connected to PVC pipe. It is not an outdoor faucet shut-off valve. It is 1” pipe, but outdoor hose bib shut-off valves are usually ½”. If your hose shut-off valve is PVC, it might look like this, only smaller in size.

And CPVC is a yellowish/off-white/cream-colored plastic pipe.

How to Turn Your Water Back On

If the shut-off valve is currently off and you would like to use the outdoor faucet, you will need to turn the shut-off valve on to get water to the hose outside. The method of turning the shut-off valve on will depend on whether your shut-off valve is a ball valve or a globe valve.

Before you turn the shut-off valve on, go to the hose bib outside and make sure that the hose bib is turned off. Because if you go downstairs and turn the hose bib’s shut-off valve on without closing the outside hose first, it will start pouring water out of the faucet outside.  

Turn off hose.
Go outside & turn off your outdoor faucet before you open the shut-off valve inside, to avoid having water pour out of the faucet when the inside valve is turned on.
Close hose faucet.
Turn the outdoor faucet clockwise to close it. Righty tighty. Lefty Loosey.

Ball Valve vs Globe Valve

Okay, once you have closed the hose outside and you are inside your home in your basement at the shut-off valve, you now need to determine if you have a ball valve or a globe valve. If you are dealing with a ball valve, the valve is off when the handle is perpendicular with the pipe itself. And the shut-off valve is on when the handle is parallel with the pipe.

To turn a ball valve on, you would simply apply light pressure to the handle of the shut-off valve (looks like a tongue depressor) and turn it from the 90 degree position to the 180 degree angle, so that it is now parallel with the pipe itself. 

Ball valve handle with arrows pointing up for on & down for off.
To open a ball valve, slowly & gently turn the valve 90 degrees, so that the valve handle becomes parallel with the pipe.
Opening ball valve.
Keep going. Slowly & gently. The valve in this photo is now about half-way open.
Brass ball valve is open.
When the handle of the shut-off valve is parallel with the pipe, the shut-off valve for the outdoor hose bib is now on.

A globe valve  is a round valve that looks like a hose valve itself. If you are dealing with a globe valve, the way to open it is to turn the handle counter-clockwise. Always remember: Righty tighty! Lefty loosey!

Open the globe valve by turning handle counterclockwise.
This is obviously a hose bib & not a globe valve, but a globe valve handle is just like a hose bib handle. You would open or close a globe valve the same way you would open or close a hose bib handle.
Turn handle clockwise all the way to open globe valve.
Again, this is not a globe valve, but you would open your globe shut-off valve the same way you would open this hose. You would turn the globe valve counterclockwise to open it.

How to Winterize Outside Taps

First things first. If your hose is currently connected to your outdoor faucet/hose bib, go ahead and disconnect it.

Remove hose from hose bib.
If your hose is currently connected to your hose bib, disconnect it by turning the hose counter clockwise.
Unscrew hose from hose bib.
Keep turning your hose counterclockwise to disconnect it.
Hose is now removed.
Once the hose has been loosened, it can be disconnected.

If you are trying to shut off the hose bib for the winter, then you will want to do the opposite of what we have just outlined. Turn off the inside shut-off valve for the outside hose. 

How To Find Shut Off Valve For Outdoor Faucet.
To turn off the water to your outdoor hose bib, close the valve by gently turning the handle 90 degrees.
Keep going. Slowly & gently. The valve in this photo is now about half-way closed.
Keep going. Slowly & gently. The valve in this photo is now about half-way closed.
Brass ball valve is now closed.
The shut-off valve in this photo is now closed. It is closed when it is perpendicular with the pipe. There is a small metal tab that will prevent the handle from turning anymore once the valve is closed.

Then go outside and open the hose bib to drain the water out of the hose bib. Unfortunately, if it is already well below freezing, the hose bib might be frozen closed. So, be sure to get this done before the temperatures drop!

Open outdoor faucet to drain water.
Once your inside shut-off valve for your outdoor faucet is off, go back outside & open the faucet to drain the water in the lines. Turn the hose/faucet counter clockwise to open.
Water draining from open hose bib.
You can see a small trickle of water coming from the outdoor faucet in this photo once it has been opened.

After you have opened the outdoor faucet to drain the water out, turn the faucet back off.

Close hose after draining.
Turn the faucet clockwise to close it.
Finish closing hose bib.
The faucet is now closed.

The last step is to drain the hose bib pipe down in the basement, if there is a bleeder valve cap on the shut-off valve. Grab a bucket and an adjustable wrench. Gently unscrew the bleeder cap with the wrench. 

Unscrew the bleeder cap with wrench.
Gently & firmly use your adjustable pliers to grip the bleeder cap & turn it counterclockwise to loosen it.
Unscrew bleeder cap with wrench.
Once the bleeder cap has been loosened a little with your adjustable wrench, you can then use your fingers to remove the bleeder cap.

Then finish unscrewing it with your hand and let the water drain into the bucket. And be careful with the bleeder cap while it’s off! Don’t drop it in the litter box or down the sink. Because if you do, retrieving it will be annoying and gross. 

After loosening, finish unscrewing bleeder cap by hand.
Now that the bleeder cap has been loosened with your adjustable wrench, you may grip the bleeder cap with your fingers & gently finish unscrewing the cap to remove it.
Don't lose the bleeder cap!
Be very careful not to lose your bleeder cap! If you lose it, you will need to buy a new one & reattach it before you can turn the valve back on.

Once the remaining water from the pipe has drained into your bucket, screw the bleeder cap back onto the shut-off valve. If you do not replace the bleeder cap and you turn the shut-off valve back on, water will spray everywhere. So, be sure to replace the bleeder cap when you are finished draining the remaining water in the pipe. 

Hand screw the bleeder cap back on, after draining.
To screw the bleeder cap back on, use your finger first to thread the cap back on.
Tighten with wrench.
Once you have hand tightened the bleeder cap, use your adjustable wrench to gently finish screwing the bleeder cap back into place.

You did it! You found your outdoor faucet’s shut-off valve. And then you either opened or closed the valve, depending on what you were trying to accomplish. Nice work! 

You can also pick up and use an outdoor hose bib faucet cover. Though turning off your hose faucet’s shut-off valve and draining down the pipe is the safest way to prevent freeze damage over the winter. A hose faucet cover will help to insulate your faucet, and can also help prevent freeze damage.

Abbreviated directions for learning how to find shut off valve for outdoor faucet:

  • If you have a basement, check down there first.
  1. If you have an unfinished part of the basement with other shut-off valves, this would be a good place to start.
  2. It could be near the main, whole-house water shut-off valve. Often, the hose pipes tee off of the main water pipe near where it enters the home. So, if you know where your shut-off valve for the house is, this is a good place to start looking.
  3. Look on the opposite side of the wall where your hose is. Sometimes, the hose bib shut-off valve is just on the other side of the wall, in the basement.
  • If you don’t have a basement, try checking your crawl space.
  • If you still can’t find it, try looking for drywall cutouts that contractors may have left when they were finishing rooms or the basement. Sometimes they use crown moulding to “frame” the drywall cutout. 
  • Try looking in the back of closets or possibly under kitchen or bathroom sinks. Especially if your home is older, builders seemed to get very creative and just stick the valves wherever they could. 
  • If you have an irrigation system, it is possible that your outdoor faucet is connected to the irrigation system. That would mean that if the irrigation water shut-off valve is off, the outdoor faucet would be off also. 
  • Most outdoor faucet shut-off valves are connected to either copper, PVC, or CPVC pipe.
  1. Copper: An orangish/brown metal pipe (might have greenish tint)
  2. PVC: White, plastic pipe (might have blue or clear glue residue around connections)
  3. CPVC: Yellowish/off-white/cream-colored plastic pipe
  • Turn the shut-off valve either on or off, depending on what you need to accomplish. 
  • The most common type of valves for shut-off valves for outdoor faucets are brass ball valves, PVC ball valves, and brass globe valves.
  1. Brass ball valve: The valve is off when the valve handle (looks like a tongue depressor) is perpendicular with the pipe. And the shut-off valve is on when the handle is parallel with the pipe. To turn a ball valve ON, you would simply apply light pressure to the handle of the shut-off valve and turn it from the 90 degree position to the 180 degree angle, so that it is now parallel with the pipe itself. To turn off a ball valve, apply light pressure to the handle of the shut-off valve and turn it from the 180 degree position to the 90 degree angle.
  1. PVC ball valve: The valve is off when the valve handle (usually red) is perpendicular with the PVC pipe. And the shut-off valve is on when the handle is parallel with the pipe. To turn a ball valve ON, you would simply apply light pressure to the handle of the shut-off valve and turn it 90 degrees, so that it is now parallel with the pipe itself. To turn off a PVC ball valve, apply light pressure to the handle of the shut-off valve and turn it 90 degrees the other direction.
  1. Globe valve: The valve is off when the valve handle is screwed all the way to the right. Or, put another way, the valve is off when the handle has been turned clockwise to the point where it will no longer keep turning. To turn a globe valve ON, you would simply grip the valve handle and screw the valve handle counterclockwise until it is fully open. To turn a globe valve OFF, gently turn the handle of the shut-off valve clockwise until it is fully closed.

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