How do I Repair an Aging Outdoor Faucet?

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Old 12-22-13, 12:55 AM
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How do I Repair an Aging Outdoor Faucet?

I have an older home (circa 1960). It is bi-level and has a lower level patio with a very nice rock (basalt, no mortar) wall. A very convenient outdoor faucet (the ~18 in long no-freeze type) is located about two feet above the patio coming through the rock wall.

Problem: the faucet leaks, the gasket needs replacing. It has leaked very slowly for several years. I can easily control/stop the leak in the summer with a second hose-bib valve connected to the leaking valve. In the winter, to prevent freezing, I remove the second valve, let it leak and just channel the slowly dripping water to nearby shrubs and trees. I also place lots of insulation (a foam cap and bags of fall leaves or shredded paper) around the faucet itself.

I have been unable to locate a shut-off valve for this line except for the valve at the main city water connection. I always use Teflon sealant for my plumbing projects, but I suspect the old pipe seal paste was used on the threads in ~1960; the type which dries rock hard. In the past I have turned off the water at the main and cautiously applied reasonable pipe wrench pressure to the leaky valve but it didn't loosen. I have also been unable to identify the brand of the valve, so pre-selecting a new replacement gasket is a guess, even if the valve did come loose. The valve connection to the water pipe is on the other side of the wall under ~six feet of earth.

The leak rate has been increasing over the past 3 years, so I think I will probably have to repair or replace the valve this coming spring. HOWEVER, I also think the potential for breaking the 50+ year old pipe behind the wall is very high.

To re-state the Problem: The valve connection is virtually inaccessible behind the base of an 8 foot high stone wall, and, if it breaks, I lose all water to our house until it is repaired.

HELP: What is the best way to approach this problem? Any/All suggestions will be greatly appreciated and seriously considered.
 
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Old 12-22-13, 04:20 AM
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It sounds to me like you need to replace the washer. You'd unscrew the top of the hose bib and pull that part out - you'll see the washer, it's easy to replace. One of the plumbers should be along later with probably better instructions
 
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Old 12-22-13, 04:40 AM
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Marksr is correct, in that most likely the washer needs replacement. And that is a fairly simple procedure, but the water supply must be turned off to do it.

See this video on a how to

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlDZyKpwFV4
 
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