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OVERVIEW

 

If you live in a colder climate, your water pipes may be susceptible to freezing. For the most part, your plumbing is safely inside the heated living space of your house. However, an outdoor hose bib (spigot) on the outside wall of your house is exposed to the elements and can freeze during the colder winter months. Since water expands as it freezes, this situation can burst your pipes causing water damage to your house.

You have 2 solutions to avoid this mishap. First, you can turn off the inline valve and drain the water out of an existing outdoor hose bib during the winter months. Or for added convenience, you can install a frost-free outdoor hose bib that will help keep water away from the cold, outside elements. A frost-free outdoor hose bib contains a long stem that places the actual water shut off about 10 inches inside the house. This keeps still water away from the elements.


 

 

Skill Level & Time to Complete

 
  • Beginner - 1 to 3 hours 
  • Intermediate - 1 to 2 hours
  • Advanced - 1/2 to 1 hour
  - Always use lead-free solder for plumbing projects.
  - Wear protective glasses when soldering.
  - Always use caution when using a torch near wood. Cover the wood with a piece of sheet metal or flameproof material to prevent direct exposure to the torch's flame.
 
  - Before you solder the pipes together, assemble all the pieces to make sure you have a proper fit and no unforeseen problems.
  - Review our tutorial on soldering copper pipes for additional information on this subject.



SHOPPING LIST


Materials List
   Frost-free outdoor hose bib
   Thread to soldered fitting
   Copper pipe
   Lead-free solder
   Soldering paste
   Copper fittings
   Emery cloth
   Teflon Tape
 
Tools List
   Tubing cutter
   Propane Torch
   Round wire brush
   Flux brush
   Hack saw
   Rags
   Small sheet of metal

 

1. A frost-free outdoor hose bib has a stem that can range from 6” to 12” long. For easiest installation, you should have an additional 4” to 5” of straight pipe in-between the inline shut-off valve and the wall plate that the outdoor hose bib is mounted to, otherwise you will need to reroute your plumbing to provide the straight run that is required.
2. Start by turning off the inline valve to the existing outdoor hose bib. Purge the water from the pipe that you just shut off. Do this by opening the existing outdoor hose bib and opening the bleed valve on the inline shut-off valve. If you don’t have a bleed valve, don’t worry – the water will drain out when you cut the straight pipe. Leave the outdoor hose bib open. Remove any screws that attach the outdoor hose bib to the house siding. Measure back the length of the stem on the new outdoor hose bib plus 2” to 3” from the wall plate on the straight pipe. Use a pipe cutter or a hack saw to cut the pipe. Put a bucket under the cut to catch any water that remained in the pipe.
3. Pull the outdoor hose bib, with the straight pipe attached, out of the hole through the siding. Measure the length of the straight pipe from the cut end to the back of the mounting bracket for the outdoor hose bib. Based on this measurement, make an assembly that includes the new outdoor hose bib, a threaded fitting, a straight piece of copper tubing and a straight union. Your measurement should cover the distance from the back of the outdoor hose bib mounting bracket to the inside shoulder of the straight union. Dry fit the assembly to make sure the straight union slides over the straight run of tubing still in the house.
4. Disassemble the pieces and solder together the threaded fitting, straight piece and straight union.
5. Once the joint cools, wrap Teflon tape around the threaded end of the new outdoor hose bib. Screw the fitting you just soldered onto the new outdoor hose bib and tighten.

 

6.

Insert the whole assembly into the hole in your siding. Solder the straight union onto the straight pipe inside the house. Make sure to protect flammable areas from your torch. Let the joint cool completely.

Now you are ready to test your work. Turn on the inline valve. Turn the new outdoor hose bib on and off. Check for leaks. If you find a leak, you need to shut off and purge the water from the line. Depending on where the leak is, you may need to disassemble the new outdoor hose bib to correct the problem. Take the leaky joint apart, clean all components and re-solder the joint.

7. Secure the new outdoor hose bib to the outside wall. It should come with a bushing that fits in- between the outdoor hose bib and your siding. This bushing helps keep the outdoor hose bib stem level, or slightly sloped towards the outside of your house. This is necessary to allow the outdoor hose bib to drain when it is turned off.

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