frozen pipe question

I forgot to shut off the water to the front and back yard hose bibs , I know they are frozen , I have hairdryers running on both of the bibs.

what next ? open the out side hose faucets and then turn the values off on the inside of the house  so that there is not any water left in the pipe freeze ?

and they get something like  this to cover it with?

How long do you think it will take a hairdryer to thaw it out if it is 18 F here ? is it hours or minutes ?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008E068AO/ref=asc_df_B008E068AO5327351/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395009&creativeASIN=B008E068AO&linkCode=df0&hvadid=178159343748&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11924681596896515639&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007577&hvtargid=pla-308930782285


please check my logic and let me know if you have advice on this subject


thanks in advance
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NAMEWITHELD12Asked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
what next ? open the out side hose faucets and then turn the values off on the inside of the house  so that there is not any water left in the pipe freeze ?

Yes. That is the preventative measure we take each (and every) winter. Do that in the late fall (do it now in this case) and then open up the water in the spring.
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NAMEWITHELD12Author Commented:
ok , just a last few questions should i leave the outside bibs open or closed after i shut them off on the inside of the house


I opened the out side bibs and then went back inside the house and shut the valves off inside the house . Water and not any ice poured out until it stopped and became just a drip .

so I think i can wait and not goto the home depot to get the faucet bib insulators as described above I think I can wait a few days and get them from AMAZON ?

thanks for all the help once again !
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Shut the inside valve OFF.   Open the outside tap and leave it open (until spring). Then complete any thawing if you need to (sounds like not (just a drip)) .

The bibs I do not use. Just open the taps and leave them open. Our inside valves will not freeze.
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NAMEWITHELD12Author Commented:
very very awesome , once again thanks for all this awesome advice .

I did exactly as you said , the outside bibs open and the inside valves closed


take care John !
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BillDLCommented:
I wasn't familiar with the expression "hose bibb" so I had to look it up to find that it is simply what we refer to in the UK as an "outside tap".

It sounds as though you are possibly in an area of the USA that is not geared up for such extreme weather conditions as have been experienced over the last few weeks.  In cold climates we are have the same routine every year as the first frosts begin: turn off the isolator valve to the pipe that leads to the outside tap, open the outside tap fully, and put some form of insulation around the tap and any exposed pipework outside.  We also tend to have all of our water pipes in attics, in pipe ducts, behind cabinets in the space where room warmth doesn't reach, etc. lagged with foam tubes/wraps or similar forms of insulation to prevent burst pipes.

The pipe from the mains water pipe to an outside tap should always run downhill towards the hole in the wall to the tap so that water can drain out when you isolate the water to it and open the tap.  Very often handypeople don't think about this, especially in areas that don't often see freezing temperatures.  You generally won't get frozen pipes inside a house if the outside temperature dips down to about -4C (25 deg F), but when it goes down to -8C and below (as you have been experiencing), any water lying in the metal pipe from an exposed brass tap outside to your other internal water pipes can freeze, expand, and split the pipe inside the house if it is behind cabinets or in a cold pipe duct that doesn't receive room temperature warmth.

I usually take off a small section of plinth board under my kitchen cabinets on the approach to the harshest part of our Scottish Winter so that the pipes to my washing machine, kitchen sink, and outside tap, and those running up the pipe duct to the upper floor receive some heat from the air in the house rather than being in that cold void next to the outside wall of the house.  I also have a small low wattage tubular heater That I have used on "frost setting" in extreme Winters.  I set the thermostat to a little above freezing and put it in behind the kitchen cabinets.  Any excess warmth from it travels up the boxed-in pipe and cable duct to the water pipes on my upper floor.  My pipes are all lagged, but it's just an extra precaution.

Opening the outside tap helps prevent the expanding ice that is forming from lying water in your pipe from being trapped in an enclosed space and splitting the pipe, but it doesn't always work.  For next Winter you should have a look at the gradient of the pipe leading to the hole in the wall for your outside tap.  If it isn't running downhill, I suggest you try to get the pipes realligned.  If that isn't possible, then try to lag the pipe with insulation.  You can buy foam tubes with an inside diameter that matches the outside diameter of your pipes (usually half or three quarter inch) that are pre-split to fit around pipes that are already in place.  New house builds use unsplit foam insulation tubing that is slid over the popes as they are being connected.  Plastic piping is less prone to freezing and splitting if it does freeze, and this is being used commonly when people get new sanitaryware and outside taps fitted.  Some plastic piping allows you to connect it to existing copper piping using a collet containing a rubber "O ring" and clamping teeth, whilst other plastic piping uses a reinforcing tubular insert at the end where it connects to existing metal piping using traditional compression couplings.

Here's hoping that next Winter won't be as severe for you, but in Spring you should have a look at what you can do before it happens again.
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NAMEWITHELD12Author Commented:
thanks all !!
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are very welcome and I was happy to help
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BillDLCommented:
Thank you NAMEWITHELD12
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