One of the most frequent repairs that we run into when dealing with residential plumbing repairs is a leaking faucet on the outside of the house. These types of faucets are also referred to as a sillcock or a hose-bib. The most common cause for these faucets to start leaking is when the homeowner leaves a hose connected in the winter time. The reason that these faucets work without freezing is because the shut off point is located about 10″ back from the exterior of the house.
If you have a finished basement or a tight crawl space it can be difficult to access these faucets to make the repair. When we rough in a house on a new construction project we will assemble the pipe in a way that can allow for future replacement without having to access it from the basement. Some older housed that have galvanized or copper supply lines were stubbed out with a female adapter for the hose-bib to screw into. This will allow you to unscrew the fixture from the outside of the house and install the new fixture without cutting a hole in the drywall below. Not all homes were setup this way even if they do have copper plumbing. If the faucet was soldered into the pipe then the only way to make the repair is to access the pipe from below.
Even if your house was built with a female adaptor and will allow for a new faucet to be threaded on, there are still a few different challenges that you will be faced with. The first is going to be the water that comes out of the pipe when the faucet is unscrewed. Some houses don’t allow for you to remove the water out of all areas of the home. The second challenge you will be facing is that these hose-bibs come in many different sizes and setups. The most common lengths for these exterior faucets are 8″, 10″, and 12″. If the basement is finished the only way to tell will be to remove the old faucet. It is usually best to have all three lengths ready to go so that you can minimize the amount of water the leaks from the open fitting.
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