Freeze Proof Outdoor Water Faucets
A drip from a freezeproof outdoor water faucet is repaired just like one from any stem faucet, by replacing the washer. The difference is in taking apart one of these devices, specially built to prevent freezing in sub-zero weather. The packing nut and stem require several extra steps to disassemble.
Drips are a common problem with these faucets because their design leads many people to turn the faucet off too hard, causing unnecessary wear on the stem washer. The faucet is installed at a slight tilt toward the outside walls, so that when the handle is turned off, the small amount of water remaining in the faucet body continues to run out of the spout until the body is completely empty.
This drianing action makes the faucet freezeproof, of course, but instead of waiting a minute for the trickle to stop, homeowners unfamiliar with the mechanism often try to turn off the faucet harder and thus wear out the washer.
All the parts of a standard stem faucet are present in a freezeproof faucet, but the sloped, elongated body of the faucet allows the stem to stop the flow of water inside the house, where the temperature stays above the freezing point. Water remaining in the exposed body drains out of the spout.
Are you having a hard time replacing a stem washer on a freezeproof outdoor faucet? If so, here’s a tricky technique for an elusive washer:
First, remove the handle screw and the handle. Unscrew the hexagonal packing nut–it is designed to come off, even though the faucet body may appear to be all of one piece with the stem projecting from it. Then put the handle back on the stem.
Turn the handle counter-clockwise to unscrew the washer end of the stem from the faucet body. Then pull the handle away from the faucet body. If the stem cannot be budged this way–the packing holds it very tight–remove the handle, set a pair of locking-grip pliers over the round part of the stem and pull the stem free. Then replace the washer in the ordinary way.
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