Leaky outdoor faucet/frozen pipe
Posted by Greg N on January 20, 2004 at 01:46:47:
I have an outdoor faucet that has started leaking. It leaks very slowly, lets say a drip every 10-20 seconds. This wouldn't be an urgent matter, except that its below zero right now. This faucet is causing large icicles to form from the ground up into its head and I'm afraid it could cause the copper supply pipe its attached into to freeze. I used a blow dryer tonight to thaw it out and reset the clock for now.
The actual freezing didn't extend much farther than just up into the faucet itself (an inch or so we'll say - just pass where the opening narrows to a small hole where it turns horizontally). Once I cleared that I was able to run the faucet. On the inside of the house, there is fiberglass insulation around the pipe between the floor joists and the pipe is not frozen. It is in the unfinished area, but that area doesn't get terribly cold and freezing inside hasn't been an issue. A 1" (maybe 3/4"?) copper supply pipe is supplying this faucet. This is an old house (1954), connected to city water. There is no shutoff for this supply line inside. To shut off water to it, I have to turn the water off at the meter to the whole house.
My questions, in the short term does this sound like a high risk of causing a rupture?
What would be the best solution?
Have a shutoff installed inline on that branch of copper line so I can shutoff water to that faucet every winter?
Replace the faucet itself?
Is replacing these faucets as simple as unscrewing them with a crescent wrench and screwing a new one on the copper pipe or are solders required?
Note: I have done simple things like installing a dishwasher and tapping into copper pipes using pressurized fittings but I'm no good at sottering, so I leave that to Roto Rooter.
I plan on installing a new faucet this spring myself if its easy to do, but I'm more concerned right now in whether I should be paying to have a shutoff put on that line to be safe, or not worry about it.
Just a note, it will be around or below zero for the next few weeks.

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