A freezeless sillcock (also called a hose bib) prevents the water in a pipe from freezing during cold snaps. The exterior portion of the freezeless sillcock sits outside a wall, as with normal sillcocks, but the faucet washer at the end of the valve stem is positioned farther down the water pipe, by as much as 12 inches. This keeps any residual water inside the pipe closer to the house and prevents it from freezing. The two parts to check when repairing a leaky faucet of this type are the washer and the valve stem.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Adjustable wrench
- Sillcock stem
- Faucet washer
- Pipe thread compound
- Silicone grease
Cut the water supply to the freezeless sillcock. The location of shut-off valves vary from house to house: look in the area immediately around the sillcock, such as in the basement below where the sillcock is installed, or in the foundation behind the sillcock. Turn the water off by rotating the shut-off valve to the right. If you cannot locate a separate shut-off valve, turn off the house's main water supply.
Remove any hoses or other watering implements connected to the end of the sillcock.
Slip an adjustable wrench or pair of pliers around the nut beneath the handle where it meets the water pipe. Turn counterclockwise. The nut and faucet handle should start to come loose. Continue turning until the faucet handle and the stem come out.
Inspect the stem carefully for any cracks or bent pieces. If you see either of these, the entire stem needs to be replaced--a structural deficiency impedes the ability of the sillcock to withstand cold temperatures.
Hold the stem so you can see the rubber washer at the bottom. Check the washer for tears or cracks. If you find either of these, replace the washer. Unscrew the retaining nut at the bottom of the stem that holds the washer in place with a screwdriver. Pull the washer off the end of the faucet. Replace with a new washer. Insert the screw again and tighten. Brush a coating of silicone grease over the faucet washer with your finger. This grease is nontoxic, won't wash off in water, and will help keep the seal tight.
Dab pipe thread compound on the threads of the valve stem. Insert the stem back into the faucet body and tighten by turning clockwise with the wrench.
Restore the water supply.
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