If your frost-free faucet won’t shut off or turn on properly, then you’re probably wondering how to replace a frost-free sillcock outdoor faucet.
These types of faucets can be extremely handy since they prevent pipe freeze in the wintertime. Many newer models also have anti-siphoning technology that prevents any contaminants or harmful chemicals from entering your home from a garden hose or outdoor source.
They are the latest thing in outdoor faucet technology and a great update to the old garden hose spigot of yesteryear.
Sometimes a frost free faucet won’t turn on or will have other malfunctions. If these problems become a recurring problem, it’s probably time to replace the entire unit.
Often you can tell if a sillcock valve needs replacing when the water pressure is low even after all cartridges and washers on the spigot have been cleaned and replaced.
Whether you need to remove or replace an old outdoor faucet, this guide will help you with your frost free faucet repair.
Table of Contents
6 Steps to Replace a Frost-Free Sillcock Outdoor Faucet:
- Two pipe wrenches
- Regular nut wrench
- Hand saw or portable electric saw
- Towels or rags
- Pipe crimper
Step One: Cut Hole in Wall Cavity
Take your hand saw or electric saw and cut a small hole in the wall cavity surrounding the sillcock valve. This hole should be large enough for you to see if any leaks are happening and to fit your hand inside if necessary.
While this may seem like a drastic first step, being able to see inside your wall will save headaches later.
Because a sillcock valve travels through the wall, leaks may occur within the wall cavity when you disconnect it from the pipe.
Sometimes this kind of leaking or dripping can lead to water damage or mold. It’s best to cut a hole so you can if any drips or leaks happen and wipe them up and dry them out immediately.
Step Two: Evaluate How the Valve Connects to Pipes
Many sillcock valves are soldered into place when first installed. That means disconnecting them can be a little tougher than simply unscrewing them.
Take a look to see if your sillcock valve is soldered or only screwed and tightened into place. If no soldering has happened, you can simply unscrew the valve and move on to replacement.
However, if your sillcock is soldered, it’s time to get out the pipe wrenches.
Step Three: Disconnect the Sillcock Valve from Pipe
To disconnect a soldered pipe, take a pipe wrench and place one end on the sillcock’s threaded end. Place another smaller wrench at the back of the sillcock’s head.
Turn these wrenches a quarter turn, being careful to not crimp or twist the copper pipes. They should unscrew with additional pressure from the wrenches. If all else fails, take your soldering iron and loosen the connections to the copper pipe. When soft, cut these pipes.
For unsoldered pipes, unscrew the damaged sillcock from the interior pipe assembly. Sometimes a regular wrench is needed on these nuts or pipe connectors if these parts are connected tightly. Clean up any spilled water that may have been lying within the line.
Step Four: Crimp Lines if Necessary
Sometimes when pipes are soldered together, they will need to be crimped when separated. Depending on how much water lies within the pipe after the water is turned off, you may need to crimp the end of the main pipe to prevent any leakage before a replacement can be installed.
If your main pipe requires crimping, use your pipe crimper to squeeze the copper end shut. This does not need to be airtight, since you will need to re-form the main pipe end to solder on the replacement sillcock valve.
Step Five: Unscrew the Sillcock Spigot on the Outside
Now it’s time to go outside and detach the outer assembly. Using your regular wrench, place pressure on the threaded portion behind the handle. This part should be nearest the building or wall. Turn the wrench to the left slightly to loosen the nut.
When the threaded portion loosens, unscrew it carefully. When it is fully unattached from the wall, pull the spigot straight out from the wall. Try to not tilt it, as any water that might have been left over inside the spigot could spill out within the wall cavity.
Final Step: Clean Area and Have a Replacement Valve Ready
Clean up any debris or water that has accumulated during the removal process. This is especially important since your wall cavity is exposed to dust and water while open.
After sufficient cleaning, replace the removed sillcock immediately so that you are not left without water. Do not turn on the water again until this part has been replaced.
Steps to Install a Frost-Free Sillcock Outdoor Faucet:
- Soldering iron
- Pipe connectors
- Pipe wrenches
- Regular wrench
- Silicone putty
Note: Since sillcocks can vary from brand to brand, always consult the instructions that accompany your particular unit.
Step One: Attach the New Sillcock on the Exterior Wall
From the exterior of your home, thread the new valve through the hole where your old sillcock went. Place a bead of silicone putty around the area where the spigot head meets the wall.
After your putty has been placed, drill the anchoring screws into the brick or concrete that surrounds the hole. Use at least two screws. Place another bead of silicone around this area to ensure full waterproof coverage.
Step Two: Connect the Valve to Existing Pipes
If you have just removed a sillcock valve, you can simply thread the valve to the existing copper pipe attachment and secure with a pipe fitting and wrench.
If you need to extend the main water pipe to meet the sillcock valve, use copper pipe. Solder this pipe to the main pipe and use a pipe adapter to create watertight seals. Use a pipe wrench to secure these fittings.
If you have PVC pipes and not metal pipes, shop for the appropriate PVC pipe fitting that will attach to the copper sillcock valve. Use female adapters to tighten this connection.
Step Three: Use Pipe Tape to Seal Connections
Use Teflon or other secure pipe tape and wrap around all pipe connections. This is especially important where the sillcock valve meets the interior pipe.
Final Step: Turn on Water Supply and Check for Leaks
After turning on the water from the main supply, have someone outside turn on the sillcock spigot so you can check the connections in the interior. Make sure there are no drips or leaks.
If you had opened the wall cavity, close that up now and seal it off to prevent any moisture from entering your home.
When you need to replace an exterior faucet, the process does not have to be difficult if you take it step by step. Knowing how to replace an outdoor faucet with a frost-Proof sillcock can be valuable knowledge.
Remember to always turn the water off first at the mainline. Keep an eye on the inner wall cavity where your valve penetrates the wall so as to prevent or clean up leaks or drips.
If you need to take special measures to disconnect your old sillcock faucet valve, take your time and do not rush it. Too much wrenching or pulling can twist copper pipes or cause weak points that can lead to leaks down the road.
When installing a new sillcock faucet, don’t cut corners. Use quality copper pipes if you need to and fittings that are tight and snug.
Make sure all the parts work properly before turning the main water supply back on. The last thing you should do is close up the wall cavity so no air leaks or drafts can get inside your home, and enjoy your new sillcock faucet. Though this type of spigot is a little more work, the rewards are immeasurable.