Sill Cocks & Frost Free Hose Bibs (…and a little diy)

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Frost free hose bibs are specially designed to eliminate the need to turn an outside faucet off during the winter. Typically, there are two types of outside faucets: sill cocks (the bottom faucet) and hose bibs (the top faucet).

A sill cock is an older style of outside faucet that shuts the water off right near the handle of the faucet. This causes problems in the winter time because, even though the sill cock is shut off, you still have a portion of the water line which feeds the sill cock exposed to freezing temperatures. When water lines freeze they will break as a result of the expanding ice. To avoid this you have to go down into the basement before every winter and turn off the supply of water to the sill cock.

Frost free hose bibs are constructed differently. Instead of shutting the water supply off right at the handle, which we noted is susceptible to freezing, the handle is connected to a shaft that runs inside a tube which, when turned, shuts off the water supply further inside the house where warmer air will prevent the water from freezing. If installed properly, your frost free hose bib will have a slight angle which will allow any water inside the tube to drain away once the hose bib is shut off.

Here is a quick reference guide to installing a frost free hose bib

This project will require:

  1. Tampering with your water supply
  2. Use of a torch in a confined space
  3. Basic soldering knowledge
  4. Basic knowledge of use of both hand and power tools

**NOTE** If any water is left in lines you are trying to solder – it will fail and you will have a leak.  The hose bib must be installed at an angle towards to outside to allow water to drain and prevent freezing. The following step-by-step guide is a very basic illustration intended only to guide you. The actual process will vary based on your circumstances and requires you to be a little “handy”.

If you feel uncomfortable with the use of these tools then contact a professional. We are always here to help.

Things you will need:

  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Tubing Cutters
  • Torch
  • Solder
  • Emery Cloth
  • Flux Paste
  • Cordless Drill
  • Screws
  • Plumbers Putty
  • Flame Retardant Protective Barrier
  • Rag

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Step 1:

Turn off the water supply line located at near the water meter. Then cut out the old sill cock and shut-off valve with a pair of tubing cutters.

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Step 2:

You may need to drill out the hole through the sill plate to accommodate the added diameter of the hose bib.

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Step 3:

Clean all of your copper and brass fittings with emery cloth and flux paste in preparation for solder.

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Step 4:

Solder your copper water lines and brass shut-off valve. Turn the water back on and test for leaks.

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Step 5:

Connect a hose to the hose bib and wash you car!

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Flooded Foundation Walls

Here is a quick little video that shows the water that can accumulated within basement walls.

In order to address wet basement issues, you must first understand how a house is built and how ground water works. First, ground water will always follow the path of least resistance. Second, anytime you disturb the ground, that ground becomes softer than the surrounding undisturbed ground. Third, cinder blocks contain voids in them.

When a house is built we start by excavating a big hole in the ground that will soon make up your basement footing and foundation walls. The hole that is dug is typically a few feet larger in diameter than the basement footprint will be. This is done to allow the masons room to build the basement walls. This added diameter is referred to as the “overdig”. After the basement walls are completed, the overdig is back filled with dirt and the rest of the house is built. However, this overdig is now softer than the surrounding areas as a result of the excavation and thus becomes a major potential for water accumulation. Weather it’s from plugged gutters and downspouts, failed storm sewer conductor lines or improper grading; any water that that gets into this overdig will most likely be trapped there between the foundation wall and the harder undisturbed ground. This results is saturated block walls. As more and more water accumulates over time, the voids within the block walls start to fill with water which could ultimately result in serious foundation problems.

In newer homes, some additional exterior drainage is installed to eliminate this potential. However, older homes only have this type of drainage inside the basement which can only work once the ground water has made it’s way into your home.

There are many different products and services out there that can help resolve this. Knowing which ones to use and how to apply them is the key to insuring the job is done properly. We would be more than happy to schedule a consultation with you and review your situation. We are confident that we can tailor a solution that will fit your specific needs.

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