Frost free faucet and timer - OK?

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by myrmidon, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. myrmidon

    myrmidon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Washington
    I have a new home (4 years old) with frost free faucets on the outside of the house. I'd like to connect a water timer to one of them to control a sprinkler. However, I noticed a sticker with a disclaimer on the faucet that states that it shouldn't be under constant pressure for more than 12 hours. I have two questions concerning this...

    1. What are the potential issues with keeping it under pressure for more than 12 hours? I can live with increased wear-and-tear, but not major water damage...

    2. Is setting the system to run 20 minutes every 8 or 12 hours enough to prevent problems?

    Thanks in advance! I'm having a very time finding any reasoning for this disclaimer.
  2. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm certainly no faucet expert, but the 12 hour thing doesn't seem right.. I'm thinking that they are referring to 12 hours in a cold climate because maybe that's how long it takes for the water to freeze inside it or something.. Then again, that seems silly too because the water is going to freeze much quicker in cold Alaska than it would in cold Kentucky or something.

    My "guess" is that the 12 hour thing doesn't apply to summer use. That would just be stupid..
  3. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    The time limit may refer to the vacuum breaker section of a common frostproof faucet. Said vacuum breakers are considered by design and by codes to fail to function after being under pressure for an extended time period. The failure is one of protection, and not to be taken lightly, but not one of impending catastrophic damage to the plumbing.

    As soon as you connect a timer device to the faucet, you have defeated the built-in backflow preventer.
  4. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Michigan
    Oh.. I need to question your response because I am confused.
    To date, I have always understood frost proof faucets (those on a house), to be nothing more than a normal faucet with the valve body recessed down an extended pipe into the home. Its basically just a "remote valve" where the valve handle is outside the home and the valve body is a few inches inside the home so its not exposed to the cold. I have never seen a back flow preventer on one but I have seen anti-siphon devices.

    The 12 hour thing still has me puzzled.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    An anti-syphon device IS a backflow preventer. Just like an atmospheric vacuum breaker, there is a float in an anti-syphon frostproof faucet, that is not intended to be under pressure 24/7, because the float can stick in place, and fail to provide anti-syphon protection.

    The "12 hour thing" refers to the underlined words above.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  6. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Michigan
    Now that makes more sense....

    Thanks for clearing that up...
  7. myrmidon

    myrmidon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Washington
    Thanks Wet_Boots. This is very helpful. I have a follow-up question that I'm hoping you may know the answer to... Is having the timer open up every 8-12 hours for about 20 minutes enough to give the valve a workout? I realize that you don't know that specifics of my hardware, so just looking for general guidance.
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    No. That does nothing. Your timer-valve can't function unless it is threaded onto the faucet, and the faucet turned on, where it will remain on 24/7.

    There are separate hose-thread backflow preventers you can thread onto the outlet(s) of the timer/valve
  9. myrmidon

    myrmidon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Washington
    Got it. Thanks for the insight!
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