How to Install a Frost Free Outdoor Faucet

Step-by-Step Instructions for installing an Outdoor Faucet / Sillcock

By Mark J. Donovan

If you live in a cold climate area, and have older outdoor faucets, it is important to make sure you turn the line stop valves off during the cold months. The line stop valves enable the water to flow to your outdoor faucets and usually sit a few inches back inside your home. With these valves turned off you can then turn on the outdoor faucets and allow them to drain and remain open during the winter months.

An alternative to older outdoor faucet models is the frost free outdoor faucet or sillcock.
A frost free sillcock is designed such that the shut off valve sits 8-12” back inside the sillcock pipe. As a result, the valve sits inside the warmth of the home and prevents the outdoor faucet / sillcock from freezing during winter months.

Remove Existing Outdoor Faucet

To install a frost free outdoor faucet, start by turning off the line stop valve to the outdoor faucet and draining the water from the pipe and existing faucet.

Leave the outdoor faucet in the on position after the water drains out.

Next remove the screws that hold the existing faucet to the home.

Now, from inside the home, measure back the length of the exiting outdoor faucet pipe plus 3-4 more inches and mark the pipe. This mark should sit between the line stop valve within the home and the interior wall surface.

Place a bucket underneath your pencil mark.

Using a hacksaw or pipe cutter, cut the pipe where you marked it.

Go outside the home and pull the existing outdoor faucet from the exterior wall.

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Install New Frost Free Outdoor Faucet

Now slide your new sillcock unit into the hole and measure the gap from the end of the sillcock’s pipe to the end of the supply line. You will need this measurement to calculate a new piece of copper pipe to tie the sillcock to the supply line.

When measuring the length of filler pipe required, make sure you account for a threaded fitting that will allow the sillcock to screw into the fitting, and a strait fitting to tie the supply line to the sillcock. If you make the small length of copper pipe too long your sillcock will not fit flush up against the exterior of the home. If you make it too short you will not be able to connect the supply line to the sillcock/threaded fitting/short-pipe assembly.

After cutting the small length of filler copper pipe, slide the sillcock into the home and test fit the length of copper pipe and fittings. Make sure they tie together well. Also make sure you have accounted for having to screw the sillcock onto the threaded fitting. This can consume about 1/4th inch of the length of the thread fittings.

Now disassemble the pieces.

Next clean all fittings and pipe ends with steel wool and a rag.

Then apply flux to the fittings and pipe sections that need to be soldered.

Using a propane torch solder together the fittings and small pipe assembly.

After flowing the solder on each joint use a clean rag and gently wipe the joint. Be careful not to burn yourself.

After the joints have cooled wrap Teflon tape around the threaded fitting.

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Now screw the threaded piping assembly to your sillcock. Use a couple of wrenches to make sure the connection is tight.

Next insert your sillcock assembly into the exterior wall and attach the straight fitting over the end of the supply line.

Again using a propane torch, solder the straight fitting to the supply line. Again, quickly wipe down the joint with a rag just after soldering it.

Using a couple of screws attach the outdoor faucet to the home.

Testing Your Work

Finally, turn on the stop line valve and you frost free outdoor faucet / sillcock should be ready to go.

Test the sillcock by turning it off and on. Examine your fittings for leaks. If any are found, turn off the stop line valve, turn on the sillcock and drain any water from it.

Examine where the leak is flowing. Once you have found the offending joint, heat it up with your propane torch and disconnect it (don’t burn yourself). Re-clean the joint, apply flux and reflow the joint.

Test the system again and with any luck you have a leak free, frost free outdoor faucet.

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