How to replace frost free sillcock

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Elapidae, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Elapidae

    Elapidae New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Texas
    I have a broken frost free sillcock (left the hose attached during a freeze... yes, another lesson the hard way...). I need to replace it but I'm not sure how. This is a newer house (built in 2012). I'm pretty sure it's 1/2 in PEX to the back of the sillcock but in looking at the construction of other houses going up by the same builder, I can see that there is no real access to the PEX to sillcock connection on the inside. On the outside, the faucet is mortared into the brick. It looks like I'd have to remove some bricks to replace it. I can't see any way to access the actual PEX to sillcock connection at all. I'm wondering if the PEX is likely crimped on an adapter that's then threaded on the sillcock such that I could perhaps just unscrew the sillcock from the outside and screw a new one in without having to tear out any brick. Is that possible (or likely) for a 2012 built home? I've attached pictures of a sillcock (pre-brick and sheetrock) installed by this builder on another house. In my case it's all bricked and sheetrocked.
    Any advice? I'm not sure where to start or even which end of the sillcock to attempt this replacement.

    Thank you in advance for any assistance.

    Attached Files:

  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,921
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If the hose bib is threaded into a drop ear 90 that is secured, then you might be able to thread a new hosebib in.
    If not, you can always cut the 2x4 out of there and work from that end.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,334
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    A frost-free sillcock has about a 12" pipe from the outside that is connected to the supply line inside the house. The actual shutoff is done on that inside end. When shut off, the water in that pipe will drain, but as you discovered, when a hose remains connected to the bib, the draining will not occur. OK, now to the fix part of the question. The connection to the supply pipe is usually done with a tee and the threaded adapter for the bib to screw into. To remove and replace the bib you must have access to this connection. It requires 2 wrenches, one to apply counter pressure as you turn the bib with the other wrench. This is assuming you have copper pipe. With old galvanized one wrench might work. Replacing is the opposite. Notice the arrow on the inside end of the fixture. Do not try to remove the broken bib from the outside. You will almost certainly damage the supply pipe. The insulation you have on the hose bib pipe is useless because insulation does not heat the pipe. Side note: The faucet should have a slight tilt to the outside so it will drain. (with the hose off)
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,132
    Location:
    IL
    Additionally that faucet was designed to go much farther into the wall. Normally the bronze would be all of the way to the siding. Is that practical? If not, do what you can. Hmmm. Texas. You might be OK, but I really think you will be able to bring that in farther.
  5. Elapidae

    Elapidae New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Texas
    Thank you all very much for the quick replies and information.
    Originally I got all excited about cutting an access panel in the sheetrock on the inside, crimping on some PEX fittings, adding and an interior cut-off ball valve, etc... Once I went over and looked at how they are actually installed (the pictures above), I realized I wasn't going to get access to much on the inside.

    I'm really hoping the hosebib, sillcock, faucet (I'm sure I'm probably using the wrong term) is screwed into a 90 degree drop ear elbow that's secured to the 2X4 with the insulated 1/2" PEX crimped on to it. There's absolutely no way to get a wrench on it as is if mine is like the one pictured. Even if I sawzall the 2X4 out, I don't think there is enough inward play to get a wrench in there much less 2.
    Again, the pictures are of another house being built near mine by the same builder and are examples of how they do it. The reason it's sticking so far from the wall in the picture is because they just haven't bricked it up yet.
    The good news is that it's not an emergency. As long as I don't turn the faucet on, it doesn't leak. I may wait and try to catch them actually hooking up one of the sillcocks to see what's behind the 2X4. It sure would be nice if I could just unscrew it, wrap a little teflon tape on a new one and screw it back (and somehow have it miraculously wind up being upright). Thank you all again. I really appreciate it.
  6. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,339
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    That picture with the hose faucet sticking out looks like it was taken before the brick veneer was installed.
    Looks you may be able to twist it out.
  7. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

    Messages:
    388
    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    It looks like you might need a bib with a longer neck -- like others have said, a 12 incher is about right for 2x6 studs and brick veneer.

    That copper supply pipe should be as close to the interior as possible (without touching the wallboard and making noise).
  8. Elapidae

    Elapidae New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Texas
    Here's a picture of what's inside the insulation (supply line).

    Attached Files:

  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,132
    Location:
    IL
  10. Elapidae

    Elapidae New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Texas
    Yeah, thanks. If nothing else, the installation would force me to remove the hose. ;-)
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,933
    Location:
    New England
    Woodford makes a few models of frost-free silcocks that are designed to drain, whether a hose is on it or not. Since you're going to replace it, you may want to look into that company's products.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,525
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You have given a few pictures, but NONE of them show the critical thing, namely HOW is the faucet connected to the piping. THAT is what will determine HOW to replace the valve. Everything else is guesswork and conjecture.
  13. Elapidae

    Elapidae New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Texas
    That sounds like a good idea. I've heard the Woodford name a few times in my searching. Thanks.
  14. Elapidae

    Elapidae New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Texas
    Yeah, you're absolutely right. I went back and tried to look a little closer (without damaging the insulation). I believe it's connected through one of these:

    Attached Files:

  15. Elapidae

    Elapidae New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Texas
    I don't know if it will help anybody but it did indeed turn out to be a drop ear elbow. Just cut off the main water line. Unscrewed the old, screwed in the new. 5 minute job.
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,132
    Location:
    IL
    Congratulations on your success. It probably will help somebody. That somebody should consider using teflon tape on the threads.
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