Outdoor Faucet Repair

Andy with Andy’s Pipe Dream, here today to talk about outside hydrants.

Some may also refer to these hydrants as:

• Silcock
• Hosebib
• Outdoor Faucet

We here at Andy’s Pipe Dream would like to educate you on how to keep your hydrant/faucet from freezing in the wintertime. As well we will show you how to properly rebuild your hydrant/faucet.

See our instructional video below for a step-by-step tutorial:

A typical frost-free hydrant/faucet will have valve shut off component, draining excess water after being shut off. (This is what ultimately winterizes the hydrant/faucet)

Several common mistakes homeowners will make:

• Leaving a hose on will make the draining process impossible, causing freezing of the hydrant/faucet and eventual break.
• Other times people will properly shut of the hydrant/faucet but fail to notice a slow drip at the end of the spout, this too will cause freeze & eventual breaking.

The main purpose of this tutorial is to properly educate homeowners on how to dismantle a failing hydrant/faucet and replace older parts with newer working parts.

Start by:

• Shutting off the hydrant/faucet at the valve.
• Remove any attached hose.
• Check for any possible dripping.

Start by identifying the hydrant/faucet you own, obtaining the necessary parts needed for the repair. We recommend the best way of identifying a faucet/hydrant if you are unaware is to simply take a photo of the faucet/hydrant. Then go to your local plumbing supplier/hardware store, show the photos of the faucet/hydrant you own and they should be able to identify the proper replacement you’ll need to get started.

The first and arguably most important thing to do is shutting of the water within your home. This is important for future plumbing related repairs anyway; knowing the location of the shut off is valuable for any homeowner. After you’ve shut the valve off head back outside to the repair site to begin.

Now that the water has been shut off, twist and open the hydrant/faucet valve to draining any remaining water before beginning the repair.

Start by removing the handle with a screwdriver, rotating counterclockwise. Once unscrewed, remove the handle exposing the internal parts that need to be removed.

Remove top parts of the hydrant/faucet including the vacuum breaker located just under the top cap.

Remove the packing nut with a wrench or pliers turning counterclockwise, gently unscrewing until the threads become loose and you’re able to remove from the hydrant/faucet.

After removing the packing nut, the next step in the process is to remove the packing itself. Sometimes it’s a fiber packing material other are made from rubber, simply use a screwdriver or your fingers to remove this packing material.

Removing the stem turning counterclockwise, once loose you will be able to pull the stem straight out. The stem is between 8” – 10” inches long. Once the stem is off it’s now time to take off the faulty parts and replace them. It is important to replace each piece as you remove them so you remember exactly where each part is to be placed.

Now that the new parts have been assembled, it’s time to repeat the process but in reverse order this time. Start by pushing the stem back, this time gently turning clockwise to reengage with the hydrant/faucet.

Parts can now be put back on the front of the hydrant/faucet. 3 parts total we be placed on the front, including the metal washer, the rubber packing or fiber packing, and finally the packing nut.

If your hydrant/faucet has a vacuum breaker, it’s now time to reinstall that piece along with the cover cap.

It is now time to reattach the hydrant/faucet handle. Be sure to NOT over tighten the handle, as this will only make it difficult to turn on or off.

For the final step, make sure your hydrant/faucet handle is in the shut off position. Now go back inside to turn the water main back on, head back outside and test the hydrant/faucet to make sure it operates properly.

One last important tip!
When turning off your hydrant/faucet for the first time after a rebuild it may drip slightly. This is normal for a frost-free system; give the hydrant/faucet a few minutes to completely drain. Do not over tighten the handle, this will only damage the hydrant/faucet and cut down on the life of the repair you’ve just finished.