Frost Free hose bib replacement

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Old 04-17-03, 05:45 AM
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Frost Free hose bib replacement

After using my outside faucet on a recent warm spell this past February, It wouldn't shut off after the handle was in the fully closed position. After closing the shut-off valve, I opened up the faucet and the long inner extension copper tube (lack of proper terminology) was cracked almost the entire length of the tube. I was told that the water probably never completely drained out, and froze and cracked.

I purchased a whole new frost free faucet, however, it appears that after the original (house was built 3 years ago)faucet was sweated after it was threaded on. I don't want to break anything, so would it be just as easy to just replace the inner copper tube instead of the whole faucet? Can this tube be purchased separately (maybe from a plumbing supply store)? Home Depot only carries the whole faucet.

Thanks!

Dave
 
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Old 04-17-03, 06:17 AM
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The hose was probably left on during freezing weather. That splits the outer part in no time. Its paper thin anyway. You can't just replace the outer part of the frost free. You must replace the whole faucet. Usually they come with a 1/2" male thread on the end and also have the inside diameter sized for 1/2" copper so you can solder the pipe right in. I prefer threaded connections for ease of changing. If you don't want to solder, you could get a new faucet, put a 1/2" brass coupling on it and put in a 1/2" male to compression adapter. That would let you attach it to the copper pipe without soldering. All you would need is a few more inches of straight pipe inside the house to attach to.

Ken
 
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Old 04-17-03, 07:54 AM
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Ken,

Thanks for you input! I may have been unclear, I was talking about replacing just the INNER section of the faucet, not just the OUTER. It is only the INNER piece that split, and I was able to remove that easily enough.

If you still recommend replacing the whole faucet, the old faucet IS threaded on the end, so If I heat up the joint, hopefully the solder will melt away and I can easily remove the old facuet and thread on the new one.


Dave
 
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Old 04-17-03, 11:09 AM
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I think I did misunderstand you. Is the part you refer to as the 'inner copper tube' just an extension for the handle? If so, the parts are probably interchangeable with a new faucet of the same length and same brand. I'm not sure if you could get just that part. When you buy a repair kit, it usually doesn't come with the handle or the extension. I hope I understood your question this time. If not post again and clarify for me.

Ken
 
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Old 04-17-03, 01:27 PM
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I think you got it right this time. I bought the replacement (handle + outer extension + inner copper extension - all one unit) at Home Depot, but I think I will just take out the new inner copper extension from the new and replace the broken one. Much less work.
 
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Old 04-17-03, 04:50 PM
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I personally don't think switching out the stem is going to work unless you have exactly the same length and brand name of faucet... Also, many new frost-free faucets are made with a different type of end these days which may make your part harder to find... If you have to change the whole faucet however, I will say that I have NEVER seen a fitting that was both threaded AND soldered... The faucet is made with a hub that fits over copper to be soldered AND is has brass threads for use with a copper female adapter... It uses one or the other NOT BOTH... So, look closely at the faucet and you may find that the best thing to do is to cut the copper with tubing cutters, and just install the new faucet as a whole unit, and always make sure to disconnect any hoses from frost-free faucets in freezing weather to prevent future problems...
 
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Old 04-18-03, 05:08 AM
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Ragnar,

I hear what you are saying. I will look again at the fitting, is it possible the plumber sweated the joint after threading it on just to make sure it wouldn't leak?? I KNOW it is threaded on....Maybe it is just pipe dope that I see in the threads, and not solder. I will attempt to loosen the fitting and replace whole faucet - I don't need any MORE headaches!

Thanks.

Dave
 
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Old 04-18-03, 07:05 PM
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I would be very surprised if he soldered it after threading it on... The reason is that to thread it on, he would have applied pipe dope to the threads... Soldering the threads afterwards would have melted out the dope and would not have stuck to the threads regardless without their being cleaned and fluxed... It would have made the joint far worse and not better, so no plumber would do it... Now a home owner might have put Lok-tite or some other thread lock that can resemble solder, but that would just be another reason to cut the copper behind the faucet and replace the whole thing by soldering the faucet to some 1/2" pipe and soldering in a new coupling... I could have done it in the time it took to type this paragraph, and if you are a true rookie you can do it in twice that time.... .... Of course, to thread the faucet on, a threaded adapter has to be soldered onto the copper first so you should be able to tell if their is a copper adapter that accepts the male threads of the faucet... If so, then the faucet can be unthreaded and a new one can be screwed in, again assuming you get one the exact same length...
 
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Old 04-21-03, 05:24 AM
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Ragnar,

"I could have done it in the time it took to type this paragraph"

You should have just rang the doorbell, I was home!!

Seriously, I took another (closer) look at the fitting - which is by the inside corner of the basement ceiling, surrounded by insulation and a half-assed installed heating duct elbow which I had to remove to gain access to the fitting -

turns out what I thought was a threaded fitting was just the male threads on the faucet. I thought the male threads were on the lead pipe and threaded into the faucet, but the threads are on the faucet which is SWEATED to the pipe. One good twist with the pipe wrench, and that fitting would've come off alright!!

Now, my next step is to cut the copper pipe, and I would assume you recommend sweating on a female threaded fitting if possible, as opposed to re-sweating the new faucet on?

Also, I may re-route the copper - because when the builder originally installed the copper for the hose bib, it was above the foundation around the perimiter of the basement. Then the ductwork was installed. THEN, something happened to the copper pipe (brackets came lose or something) and the whole pipe came crashing down (during construction ) and they figured it was easier to re-route the copper across the middle of the basement instead of around the furnace and ductwork along the perimiter like it was originally installed. I DID put foam pipe wrap around the pipe to prevent condensation dripping down in the summer, but once I finish the basement I would rather not have those pipes across the middle of the basement ceiling. Am I worrying about nothing??

There is ONE section that definitely needs re-routing, since the morons brought the copper down BELOW the joists, so when I finish the basement I will have to box in that section of the stupid pipe.

Now, in the time it took me to type this (which was not long at all) I could have caused ALOT of damage to my copper piping! Seriously, I have never sweated copper before, but I am pretty handy. I did manage to install a 10 zone sprinkler system myself, running over 2000 feet of poly and about 70 feet of PVC. unfortunately no copper. But what a better place to start than a hose bib!!

thanks!
Dave
 
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Old 04-21-03, 06:23 PM
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Just for the record, the comment that I could have done it in the time it took to type a paragraph was not intended to be belittling or haughty... I was trying to enstill confidence so that you would feel like you were ready for the job... ... I would definitely NOT recommend soldering a female threaded fitting... It is far easier to just resweat the new one and it will last a long long long time... Especially since you will have it above what will be a finished basement later... A threaded joint is far more likely to leak over time than a soldered joint... And once you are familiar with the soldering end of copper, you will have no trouble changing it out in the future... I have found that if you ever try to tighten a new faucet into an existing thread, you will invariably end up with the faucet pointing upwards when it is tight enough... So you have to overtighten it by an extra half turn or undertighten it by half a turn... I think that falls under murphy's law somewhere... As for rerouting the copper,.... It is going to flood just as bad whether it is over the middle of the basement or the end of the basement, so I don't believe I would reroute it... I would, however, make sure that I have access to the valve for shutting off the outside, so you might consider that when you work on the pipe...
 
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Old 04-22-03, 05:02 AM
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"...was not intended to be belittling or haughty"
I didn't take your comment that way, I was just making a joke!!

I will take your advice and just sweat the new faucet on. The shutoff has been turned off since January when it broke, and I will always have access to the shutoff.

What a better place to practice sweating copper than a hose bib!! If I fail, I have another bib in the back of the house, and two more that I installed with the sprinkler system (those are PVC Pipe)

Thanks Again!

Dave
 
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