Frost Free Hose Bib/Spigot is Leaking!!!


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Old 01-27-07, 06:30 AM
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Frost Free Hose Bib/Spigot is Leaking!!!

Hello All;

It's about 20 Degrees this morning in lovely NJ. I walked around my house this AM to do a quick check and noticed that one of my "frost free" hose bibs was leaking (I don't know the brand...i've seen them at Home Depot before). All of the plumbing is only 1.5 years old. I also just realized that i don't have shut off's for each individual spigot.

I am assuming that something frooze over the last 4 days of cold weather and now I have a problem. Unfortunately, there are no shut off valves for the individual spigots (I have 4 hose bibs outside). I was told that they are frost free so i just did nothing to prep them for winter. What should I have done?

Also, I will have to put a quick fix in place if I want to turn my water back on tonight. Any ideas? Can I just go out and buy new cartridges?

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-27-07, 09:59 AM
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Depending upon what was actually damaged would direct the repair.

If the thing froze, it is a probablility the entire unit will need to be replaced. When these things freeze, it often slpits the body of it.

Did you have hoses attached to the spigot? an absolute no-no. the idea of the freeze proof spigots is to not allow water past a point where there is enough heat to prevent freezing. If there is a hose in place, it will allow water to be in the entire spigot, including where there is sub-freezing temps.

Is the inside of the spigot in a heated area? if not, you may still need to use heat tape to prevent freezing.

Replacement is not very difficult. You need to shut off the water to the spigot (obviously). Remove the screws that hold the spigot to the structure. From inside the building, hold the feed pipe with a wrench (to prevent it from turning. this would cause you addiational damage) and unscrew the spigot from te feed pipe. apply teflon tape, or a sealant of your choice and reinstall the new spigot. A second person outside the building is a big help since the spigot must be removed to the outside and the new one put in place form the outside.
 
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Old 01-27-07, 11:30 AM
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It is even possible the hose washer is bad.
The type of bib I have uses just a simple 1/2" washer.
 
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Old 01-27-07, 11:58 AM
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Thanks for the reply.

I did not have any hoses attached and the back of the spigot is about 2 inches into my basement. I believe the spigot is 12 inches in total.

I think you are right, I will have to replace the entire unit. But when i just checked it appears to have been sodered to the copper pipe. So, I guess I need to heat it first, right? I had to call in reinforcements (my father) to help. Hopefully we'll get it done this afternoon.

Anyway, any thoughts on how i can keep it from freezing again? I bought one of those covers intended to insulate the hose bib, but i don't think that is enough.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-27-07, 12:23 PM
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whoops! you apparently have a soldered version rather than the threaded fitting type.

Was the thing leaking prior to the big leak like in a dripping faucet? If so, it may have slowly frozen closed from the water leaking past the rubber washer and then had enough pressure to split the body.

Is anybody you know capable of soldering? It isn;t all that difficult but it does intimidate some folks.

I have an unheated crawl space and live in SW Michigan. The only time I had a problem was when I (contrary to advice I gave you ) left the hose attached.

If your basement has at least minimal heat, I wouldn;t think it would be a problem so no, I would not have recommended any pre-freezing prep either.

If the cover seals well, I would think that would contain enough heat from the inside to prevent this but I also wouldn't have thought you would have a freezing problem in temps only down to 20 either.

You might consider heat tape for the part in the basement. Also, be sure the entrance hole is well sealed around the pipe.

These things burst because the water within the spigot is trapped (between the actual valve and the outside, as a hose would do or capping the end) and when it freezes and expands, it ruptures the thing. It sounds like the valve was leaking as I previously pondered. I can think of no other reason for the thing to rupture from what you have posted.
 
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Old 01-27-07, 02:32 PM
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One very important thing to remember when you install the new one....don't leave off the nylon wedge that goes on top of the sillcock. It points the pipe in the downward position to allow it to drain properly when the water is turned off. Check to see if the one you have has the wedge installed. If not, the water did not drain properly and probably split the pipe.
 
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Old 01-28-07, 07:37 AM
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Hey guys,

Thanks for the replies.

I hadn't noticed the spigot leaking before. I actually had 4 of these spigots installed on my house last year. All four were from home depot. One of them broke only 1 month after installation, so the plumber who did the original work came back and replaced it with another one from home depot. My helper yesterday (good old dad) told me to go with a frost free one from a plumbing supply house. From speaking with the guys at the plumbing supply house, the home depot seem to be easy to break. We'll see how the one he sold me holds up.

The basement does not have heat vents into it, but does stay a steady 60 degrees. The hole coming into the basement from the spigot is not sealed. It just had some insulation wrapped around the pipe. Should I just seal the outside with clear silicone? I've also never used heat tape, should i just wrap the pipe for additional insurance?

We installed the unit (with the wedge - thanks chandler) and included a shut off inside in case i ever have a problem again....for the few dollars it cost i was pretty aggrivated that the plumber last year did not include shut offs. All seems to be ok now.

Thanks again guys.
 
 

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