Reaming a sillcock

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by joepfeiffer, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. joepfeiffer

    joepfeiffer New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I have the Legend T-550 frost free sillcocks installed (six of them) and need more water from them. I'm trying to grow grass, with spike sprinklers that flow through to the next one, but my pressure is anemic. It's not my well pump (18+ gpm); I think it's the restriction built into the T-550. My plumber (the installer- it's a new house) says that he can't put in higher flow valves (code reasons?) and said I might want to pull out the Legends and put in simple high flow valves, but I like the Legends, and I like the frost freeness.
    In one of the threads, Cass referred to 'reaming out' the Legends specifically. Is this hard? I guess I mean - how does one do this? Is the restriction near the end opposite the knob? Could I do it with a drill press? How big can/should I bore it out?
    Any help here, guys, would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. hj

    hj Master Plumber

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    If you like tearing out your walls to replace those frost resistant hose faucets, go ahead and start reaming them. You will destroy the valve and then you will have to replace them. What you get is the maximum that those valves can deliver given the limitations of their construction. More water means you have to replace them with higher flow devices, and that will SELDOM be another hose bibb of any style.
     
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  4. shacko

    shacko Master Plumber-Gas Fitter

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    >>>but my pressure is anemic<<<

    You can ream all you want but you will not change your pressure.
     
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    What size pipe is feeding the silcock? Is it a 1/2" or 3/4" valve? What size is the hose? How long are the hose segments? Each one of those sprinklers can probably flow the full amount of water the hose can supply...trying to run 6 of them on a daisy chain probably just won't work, regardless of what you do. A 1/2" pipe is only safe at about 6gpm. While it might flow more, the flow velocity can cause pipe erosion and turbulance.
     
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    Use your high school math (you know, the stuff you were sure you'd never need to remember?) and figure the areas of a 1/2" circle and a 3/4" circle. It's huge isn't it. I'd be willing to bet the farm that your supply pipe is 1/2". If you could change it to 3/4" you would be able to get much more water to your hoses. Don't confuse volume (flow) with pressure. Your pressure will remain exactly what is supplied by your water system, but the flow will increase with a larger pipe.
     
  7. joepfeiffer

    joepfeiffer New Member

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    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thanks guys! I'll try to address all responses:

    Shako: ">>>but my pressure is anemic<<< You can ream all you want but you will not change your pressure. "

    What I mean is - with only two sprinklers on, water is not thrown far at all. With only one on, it is adequate. Are you saying reaming (i.e. increasing the flow rate) won't help?

    jadnashua: The supplies ARE 1/2". But I think increasing to 3/4" won't help, because of the restrictor built into the sillcock. What I want to do is ream out the restrictor so that I get more flow (volume) at the same pressure. The way I look at it, it's like reaming out a low-flow shower head to get more water for my shower.

    Gary: I'm very comfortable with the math; but I think the problem is not the sectional area of the supply, or rather it IS, because the cross sectional area is reduced to, say, 1/4" circle, at the sillcock. This is what the installer alluded to - the effective supply size is a lot smaller than 1/2". What I want to do is ream out the sillcock to make the supply effectively 1/2" again. I think I'd be happy with that.

    As far as reaming out the sillcock, I was referring to this item from Cass:
    "Woodford is good and reliable, nothing wrong with them, but I happen to like the Legend 1/4 turn hose bibs as they are well made...the only draw back that some may not like is that in some instances I have to ream the existing hole about 1/4" or so..." [emphasis added][https://terrylove.com/forums/showth...ional-vs-Quarter-Turn&highlight=legend+t-550]

    So I'm still wondering, where the restrictor is on the Legend (near the threaded end? accessible?) and can it be reamed out without special tools, and without harming the valve seat, etc.

    Hope this makes sense. Thanks for your help, guys.
     
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    For a short distance, a narrowing of the flow path acts like a venturi, the velocity increases, and the total flow doesn't change much. So, reaming it out may not make that much difference. When the path narrows down for a long distance, yes, it decreases the overall flow.
     
  9. joepfeiffer

    joepfeiffer New Member

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    If that's so, then how does a 'low flow' (1.5 gpm) showerhead work, as opposed to the old 4-5gpm models? I thought the difference was a flow restrictor - a smaller hole. If I'm correct, one could plumb his shower with a 1" supply, and still see only 1.5gpm, more or less, because the shower head itself restricts greater flow at the given (constant) pressure.
    And there is no long path in a shower head. Am I thinking about this right?
     
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    It's all relative. Depends on how much it is restricted, the shape of the restriction (tapered, squared off, rounded, etc.) and the length of it. Fluid dynamics can get complicated.
     
  11. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

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    You can see the pinhole restricting flow in many new faucets, handshowers, and kitchen sprays. Unscrew the handshower from the hose. If it's a faucet, unscrew the spout aerator. If you're lucky you'll see a pinhole on the surface of the thingie that you unscrewed. The opening is so small you couldn't fit the smallest drill bit or nail into it. Probably not even an average pin. (Be careful to put the washer back in.)

    This confirms what jadnashua said above: a restriction of half the diameter, that lasts a short distance, is not a flow reducer. Doubling the diameter at that ONE point will make no discernible difference. Low-flow stream is made by dramatically reducing diameter, by several orders of magnitude. Half or double in one spot is no big deal.

    If you want to try it out, to see firsthand, buy larger components and install them. You will be underwhelmed by the water, and satisfied by being overeducated.
     
  12. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    This seems to me to one hell of lot of work to save $15 or $20 for a new frost freeze faucet.
     
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Nice ones cost more than that, but then, they'd proably still work when done.
     
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