How to replace a Frost Free Hose Bib
The frost free hose bib, why it freezes and breaks and how to replace it.
In the spring when you first use your outside spigot or hose bib or frost free, what ever you call it, and you find your basement or other part of your home is flooded. What happened? If it's broken why does it only leak when I use the outside faucet?
The answer to the first question is the frost free hose bib froze and split, you may ask if it is a frost free how did it freeze? The 3 main reasons a frost free hose bib will freeze are, 1 you did not remove the garden hose from the frost free hose bib during the winter months. How can that cause the Frost free hose bib to freeze?
The Hose bib is designed to drain the water out of the section that will be exposed to the cold weather, when a garden hose is left on, that section of the hose bib can't drain the water that is trapped inside, the trapped water freezes and expands, causing the frost free hose bib to split. Any hose.
Attachments like splitters and quick release fittings will also prevent the water from draining out of the frost free hose bib, the way it was designed to do, so next Fall be sure to remove all of them. 2 If the hose bib has a small drip. This small drip will freeze and the ice will build up till the whole frost free hose bib fills with ice and splits. 3 If the frost free is not installed correctly. As I said they are designed to drain the front section, if the frost free hose bib is pitching inward (into the home) it will not be able to drain, and again the water will be trapped causing the frost free hose bib to split.
In the image to the left, the red lines indicate the section of the frost free hose bib that does not have any water in it, when it is not being used. when you turn the frost free off, the water is stopped at the left end just on the other side of the left red line, then the water between the red lines drain off, This is why, if it splits, it only leaks when it is being used, when it is off this section of the frost free has no water in it.
This is the frost free from the outside and what the pipe looks like on the inside, This one was easy because it is accessible, some times you have to remove sheetrock or other wall and ceilings to get to the pipes.
First things first, Turn off the main water valve, in this case the home had a well, I had 2 choices, turn the yellow handle valve off, or turn the power to the pump off, In either case I still had to relive the pressure from the lines, Just open any faucet in the house and leave it on, lower elevation then the hose bib if possible. Then cut the pipe. Yes that is me in the image.
In the far left image you will notice there is still fittings soldered to the hose bib, I had to unsolder the pipe from the hose bib.
Once the fittings were removed, I went outside, removed the 2 screws holding the hose bib from the hole in the side of the house.
In this case the hose bib came out easy, sometimes when they expand and split, the split is larger then the hole and it can be very hard to remove, if that happens you may have to use a piece of wood and a hammer to force it out, or cut the front off and push the rest back into the house. in some cases it is best to just abandon the hose bib, leave it in the hole and put a new one in another location.
Once you have the old one out, you can just slide the new one in and screw it to the siding like I did here, As I said before this was an easy one, sometimes you will need to solder a section of pipe onto the hose bib before you put it into the hole, this will keep you from soldering in a tight place, possibly causing a fire.
This is the finished job, notice that I installed a new ball valve and I used a screw in fitting on the new hose bib, this way, the next time someone forgets to remove the hose from the frost free hose bib it will be a snap to replace, Also please notice the difference in the length of the piece of pipe going up, I made it longer to cause pitch to the outside, so this time the frost free hose bib will drain completely when it is turned off.
Get your new Frost Free Hose bibs here