A frost-proof faucet has a longer stem than standard outdoor faucets, which holds the water deeper in the plumbing lines, keeping it away from the spigot. While they are freeze-proof, you still may find them leaking occasionally.
Fixing a frost-proof faucet doesn't require advanced plumbing skills. Follow these tips for frost-proof faucet repair.
Prepare to Fix the Faucet
To fix the frost-proof faucet, gather:
- work gloves
- utility knife
- two pairs of adjustable pliers
- crescent wrench
- Phillips screwdriver
- O-ring (optional)
- frost-proof valve seat washer
- plumber's grease
Locate the water supply, which is commonly a shut-off valve on the incoming water supply pipe. If you can't find one, shut off the main water supply to the house. Turn the handle to release water pressure.
Check the Valve Stem Washers or Packing Nuts
Most problems with frost-proof faucets occur with packing nuts and washers, which requires removing the handle and body. Detach the screw on the handle with the screwdriver, and disconnect the handle. Some frost-proof faucets may have reverse threading to keep the retaining nut in place.
Keep the faucet body steady with one pair of pliers; rotate the retaining nut below the handle with the wrench, then pull out the faucet body. Lubricate nuts or washers that are hard to remove.
If the faucet leaks around the stem, check for a loose or damaged packing nut, which is commonly a gold nut at the end of the stem. Tighten the packing nut with the wrench, or replace it, and try the faucet again. Otherwise, remove the faucet body again. Then, set the handle back on the stem, and rotate it to the left, to remove the stem.
Detach the neoprene washer screw, then the washer. Leaks at the spout could be because of faulty washers. If it has an O-ring, a round rubber seal, use the knife to cut it off the stem. Lubricate the stem with plumber's grease, and slide a new O-ring on it. Install a new washer, and tighten it with the screwdriver.
Push the valve stem back into the seat, and tighten the nut. Detach the handle, and reinstall the packing nut. Restore the water, and check for leaks.
Check the Anti-Siphon and Vacuum Breaker
Some faucets use an anti-siphon device to keep dirty water out of the water supply. These devices could also be a source of leaks. You will need an anti-siphon rebuilding kit from a hardware store or plumbing supply store, to fit the faucet brand.
The ports of the vacuum breaker, a valve commonly made from plastic, often get clogged with debris. Clean the vacuum breaker and the cap, then test the faucet again. Extra dirty valves with lime scale usually need replacing.