DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two outside spigots, one is fine, but one has never worked - foreclosure I bought 2 years ago. I get a dribble. I am unable to find a shutoff to see if it is partially closed. I pulled the guts out of it today and turned the water on with no difference. The guts were 15 inches long so I am thinking the pipe must be going into the wall that is between the office and the family room. If that is the case I have no idea were they would put a shutoff because there is no exposure to put a shutoff any where near the spigot. I have replaced the one in the backyard, I forget why, maybe froze. It does have a shutoff, but that one comes in off the deck and under the kitchen sink. The house was built in 1989.
 

Attachments

·
Usually Confused
Joined
·
7,373 Posts
That is a freeze-proof faucet ('hose bib'). The stem is so long because the actual valve part is meant to be on the warm side of the wall so it won't freeze. The part towards the outside are meant to be self-draining, but must be installed at a slight down angle to drain. If somebody installed it improperly or left a hose connected over the winter preventing it from draining, it could have frozen.

If you have pulled the guts out and you still only get a trickle, there is obviously a blockage - somewhere. Perhaps the valve seat has dislodged.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So it looks like I would have to remove the whole sillcock to replace it? I dount know if it's screwed in or sweated in and the only way to find out is to break some drywall, unless there is some other way I am not aware of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I couldn't take it any more and it didn't appear I was going to get help any time soon, so I attempted to unscrew it. It was making me nervous, so I stopped and did some measuring and started cutting into the drywall. I was really wishing I have bought that inspection camera. Anyway, this is what I am dealing with. It doesn't appear I will be getting away with doing this myself. IMG_5125.jpg
 

·
Usually Confused
Joined
·
7,373 Posts
Did you unscrew the packing nut and extract the valve assembly? Turn the water off (or close the shut-off supplying the faucet if there is one), pull out the valve assembly and check the condition of the valve seat. You could then the water back on and see if you get flow.

If I am seeing you photo correctly, it looks like the sillcock is soldered to the copper supply (I'm not sure what I'm seeing at the bottom up against the joint, it looks copper). If you have the skill and equipment you could try and heat it to separate the joint and just replace the sillcock (turn the water off first). Try to avoid burning the house down. One problem may be that if there is water lying at the joint you likely won't be able to put enough heat on it to melt the solder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,810 Posts
Find a wire coat hanger and make a straight piece 3-4" longer than the stem (what you call gut). Poke around - this may dislodge maybe mineral deposits and corrosion. What the ceiling photo seems to show is your valve and copper angle. Angle is probably ones called "street". It has a female end (flanged) and a male end which the photo shows is soldered into the valve. Too much solder may have flowed into the joint and blocked off some of the opening. I found that sometimes male end of a street fittings are not tight and the worker may have used too much solder. After poking around and turning on the water you still just have drips, then there may be a problem somewhere else.
As you mention, there may be a shut off valve near (or far) and there may be a blockage there. If you don't know copper work, then you need fairly competent handiman or a plumber to replace that valve. If the problem isn't solved then you need to trace the pipe, break more ceilings and find that shut off valve.

One problem working with a flame is the flame can go through cracks, heat can ignite insulation, etc. Make sure your worker acknowledge your concerns and watch him work. Heat shield, etc. There is also a spray gel that is flame retardant. Maybe a good money spent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Did you unscrew the packing nut and extract the valve assembly? Turn the water off (or close the shut-off supplying the faucet if there is one), pull out the valve assembly and check the condition of the valve seat. You could then the water back on and see if you get flow.

Yes, that is in the first post. Took the guts out and it was still a dribble. I have to shut the water off to the whole house, because if they put a shutoff for the spigot, it is in the wall.

This photo is in a wall between the office and the family room. Finished basement below these two rooms.

If I am seeing you photo correctly, it looks like the sillcock is soldered to the copper supply (I'm not sure what I'm seeing at the bottom up against the joint, it looks copper). If you have the skill and equipment you could try and heat it to separate the joint and just replace the sillcock (turn the water off first). Try to avoid burning the house down. One problem may be that if there is water lying at the joint you likely won't be able to put enough heat on it to melt the solder.
I think they set it on a pipe for support. I was hoping that the sillcock is screwed into the part that is soldered to the copper pipe. I can't do anything until I get help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Find a wire coat hanger and make a straight piece 3-4" longer than the stem (what you call gut). Poke around - this may dislodge maybe mineral deposits and corrosion. What the ceiling photo seems to show is your valve and copper angle. Angle is probably ones called "street". It has a female end (flanged) and a male end which the photo shows is soldered into the valve. Too much solder may have flowed into the joint and blocked off some of the opening. I found that sometimes male end of a street fittings are not tight and the worker may have used too much solder. After poking around and turning on the water you still just have drips, then there may be a problem somewhere else.
As you mention, there may be a shut off valve near (or far) and there may be a blockage there. If you don't know copper work, then you need fairly competent handiman or a plumber to replace that valve. If the problem isn't solved then you need to trace the pipe, break more ceilings and find that shut off valve.

One problem working with a flame is the flame can go through cracks, heat can ignite insulation, etc. Make sure your worker acknowledge your concerns and watch him work. Heat shield, etc. There is also a spray gel that is flame retardant. Maybe a good money spent.

I had my brother replace the one off the deck, but to be honest I can't remember why. This one has always just been a dribble. I suspected the shutoff, but if it has a shutoff, it's behind a wall. When whomever winterized the house they removed and capped everything outside, by everything I mean the pool equipment and the irrigation. I don't remember what was done with the spigot off the deck at this point, but that one does have a shutoff and goes under the kitchen sink. I have never been able to find the shutoff to the irrigation system.

I had a plumber over to the house once, and I have been doing it myself or having my brother help since. The plumber did sweat a valve and I know he didn't use a heat shield. I did have the owner over to the house to fix something they did too, hence why they have never been back. Good help is hard to find, and he wasn't the first person I never had back.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As soon as I posted that pic with the notations I saw what lenaitch was talking about. I think you are correct. I think they soldered the damn thing in. Here is a pic of the end of a new sillcock
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,356 Posts
Well you wrung the pipe into. Now you are going to have to repair the pipe and replace the hose bib. Yes it was soldered in, most are. Why solder on a fitting to screw the hose bib into. Why not just solder the hose bib in. The threaded fitting is kind of useless unless you have access to the joint. You have to hold the adapter while screwing in the hose bib. Kind of hard to be on both sides of the wall at the same time. Screw fitting doesn't help much during removal because you have to hold the adapter as you unscrew the hose bib.

Follow the piping back to its source. You have to have a stop valve somewhere. Otherwise you would have a full stream of water coming out that pipe. If someone can find it to turn it off, you can find it to turn it on.


Yes a piece of solder can stop up a valve but not the pipe.

Time to call a pro.



Note
That brass fitting that you pointed to is part of the faucet.
The copper that is sticking out of the faucet is part of a street elbow that was soldered into the faucet. Hard to see but what you are saying is there for support is apparently the other part of the elbow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
For some reason I kept getting an error when trying to reply to hkstroud so here it is...

Well you wrung the pipe into. Now you are going to have to repair the pipe and replace the hose bib. Yes it was soldered in, most are. Why solder on a fitting to screw the hose bib into. Why not just solder the hose bib in. The threaded fitting is kind of useless unless you have access to the joint. You have to hold the adapter while screwing in the hose bib. Kind of hard to be on both sides of the wall at the same time. Screw fitting doesn't help much during removal because you have to hold the adapter as you unscrew the hose bib.

I didn't do anything yet. This was all in place and what I am trying to fix.
What you see is a photo of what is behind the wall to try and decipher what I am dealing with. I bought a couple new sillcocks based on what I bought before, or what I thought I bought before and because Menard's was having their 11% sale. I figured I can always take back what I don't need.


Follow the piping back to its source. You have to have a stop valve somewhere. Otherwise you would have a full stream of water coming out that pipe. If someone can find it to turn it off, you can find it to turn it on.

I shutoff the main. Any other shutoff to this spigot is going to be behind a wall or in a ceiling somewhere . I've ordered a inspection cam so I don't have to tear out any more wall or ceiling I don't have to. After all I have seen with this house, I am not going to assume they did anything correct. And I have had things screwed into fittings, but you are correct you need to be able to hold on to the fitting. That's why I couldn't do this alone.

Yes a piece of solder can stop up a valve but not the pipe.

Time to call a pro.

The last "pro" I had over to help with plumbing almost destroyed my brand new dishwasher and set the house on fire.

Note
That brass fitting that you pointed to is part of the faucet.
The copper that is sticking out of the faucet is part of a street elbow that was soldered into the faucet. Hard to see but what you are saying is there for support is apparently the other part of the elbow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,356 Posts
OK, I misunderstood. Thought you said your had tried to unscrew hose bib. I guess photo lighting could be better.

Doesn't really matter if you have not done anything but open up the wall.

If you have remove the stem of the hose bib and do not get water (with main valve open) then you have a stop valve somewhere that is closed or stopped up.

Valves can get stopped up pipes don't.

It is rare for anything to get in the water that can stop up a valve up but it does happen.
The most likely thing is solder. When you solder copper pipe and use too much solder, it can run inside the joint and then either run or drip to a cold pipe. Hot solder will not stick to cold copper pipe. This solder then lays inside the pipe until water movement carries it to the next valve, which it can't pass through.

When we are learning to solder copper, we all want to use a lot of solder to make sure the joint doesn't leak. Well, all that the hot solder, which is a liquid at the time, is doing is running inside the pipe. You will never fill that joint up.

We learn that in time.

The worst case is when you are doing a vertical joint. The hot solder runs inside and then drops to a horizontal pipe and splatters to a flat, thin disk.

I have (had) a frost free hose bib through a basement wall into the laundry room. Of course the inside is covered by the drywall. It worked fine for about 10 years, then stopped. I didn't want to burst the drywall, so hoping that the blockage was at the stop valve, I changed the stop valve. That worked for short period of time. Not because I changed the stop valve but because I relieved the water pressure on the hose bib and the solder moved.

The next time it stopped up I turned off the water and poked around in the hose bib with a wire coat hanger. That worked for a couple years.

Then it stopped up again. That time I remove the stem of the hose bib without turning off the water. I wanted the water pressure to hold the solder in place until I could move it with the coat hanger and let the water pressure blow it out.

Been a couple of years now, maybe it worked.

So turn the water back on. If you don't get water out the hose bib remove the valve stem, poke around with a wire coat hanger (with water on). You should be able to feel when you go through the seat and into the pipe. If you don't get water then you must have a stop valve that is blocked. If you do get water, let it run for a minute or two and hope that the water blows the solder out.

That pipe will go back to the cold water some way. People will often cover stop valve when finishing off basements. Thinking I don't need it, I've got a frost free hose bib.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,356 Posts
PS
I have one of those Chinese inspection cameras. I think I paid about $16, actually works pretty good. It would let you make small holes which would be easy repair.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,356 Posts
Been thinking about your situation and have a suggestion.

If you are convinced that there is no stop valve on that line,

1. Turn off the water to the house.
2. Cut the vertical line (the line coming up) about 2 or 3" below the elbow. You can easily do that with a mini tubing cutter. You want to leave enough pipe coming out of the elbow to reconnect with Sharkbite coupling.

3. Have someone turn the water to the house back on, but only a little bit, you don't want a flood.

4. If you get water out of the pipe coming up then you are correct, there is not stop valve and the frost free hose bib is blocked. If you don't get water, then I am correct and there is a stop valve. You will have to find it.

5. If you are correct and the hose bib is stopped, connect a garden hose to the another faucet. Connect one of your washing machine supply hoses to the garden hose. The washing machine hose has two female ends. Connect the other end of the washing machine hose to this hose bib. Find some rubber or plastic tubing and clamp on to the end of the pipe coming out of the hose bib..

Get a Sharkbite end cap and put on the end of the pipe coming up from below. Turn on the water to the house. Open the other hose bib and blow out the obstruction in this hose bib. You will probably want someone holding the hose in the bucket. You will want to open the other hose bib full force for few seconds. You don't want the tubing flying out of the bucket. Of course you will want this hose bib open also.

You can then remove the Sharkbite end cap and reconnect the two pipes with Sharkbite coupling.

No soldering.

You will need
Mini tubing cutter,
Sharkbite end cap,
Sharkbite coupling,
Sharkbite removal tool,
short piece of rubber or plastic tubing that will fit over 1/2" copper pipe
A 2 gallon bucket
Small hose clamp.
Garden hose
washing machine supply hose.

When reconnecting pipes you may or may not need to cut about 1/2 inch off one of the pipe to make room for the coupling. All depends on the flexibility of the pipes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
After reading what hkstroud said about the dribble even if the main is on, I almost kicked myself, but then I realized I already did that. It did make me think more and more that it is a valve. I did remove the guts and jiggled a hanger in there, but to no avail.

My inspection camera came in so I started poking around. The pipe comes into the wall and into the basement ceiling. I drilled a hole in the general vicinity of where it came through the floor and into the basement and there was no valve to be found. Drilled a few more holes and narrowed it down, and then bingo. It was like finding the Titanic.

I cut a bigger hole in the ceiling to get my hand through, but one thing I noticed is that it is black. I tried turning it, but it didn't budge. Now I am not that strong and didn't force it, plus it is right against a beam so your knuckles hit the beam. The color of it bothered me so I thought I'd give an update so you guys can tell me what you think before I proceeded.
 

Attachments

·
Usually Confused
Joined
·
7,373 Posts
Huzzah!! A stop valve. This right up there with electrical threads involving a 3-way switch where they swear there is no second switch, until there is one. If you are concerned about the black colour, don't be. I don't know if it is code or simply convention that residential faucets use blue for cold and red for hot, but in my limited experience it is rarely followed (the handle of your outside hose bib is brown). It may be plugged or partially closed but will probably start leaking once you dink with it since the seals and washers have gone hard from lack of movement.

If you do decide to fix/replace the stop valve, consider a different type or configuration that moves the handle away from the joist, and installing a heating vent ceiling grille for future access.

BTW, you mentioned "the owner" in a previous post. I'm not sure you should be DIYing something you don't own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,356 Posts
I told you so, I told you so.
Congratulations.

My suggestion

You're going to have to open up the ceiling enough to get you hand up in there and to see what you are doing.

Cut the incoming pipe, the one going across the joist, as close to the elbow as possible. Looks like it is right up against that 2x4 so you may have to use a hacksaw.

Cut the pipe parallel to the joist about 6" way from the valve. (Mini tubing cutter)

Put a Sharkbite coupling on the pipe parallel to the joist.

Add a short piece of pipe long enough to reach the pipe coming across the joist.

Put on a Sharkbite 90 elbow.

Put a Sharkbite 90 on the pipe across the joist. If you had to cut that pipe with a hacksaw you probably should sand any burrs off the end to avoid the damaging "O" rings.

Connect the two 90s with a short piece of pipe.

You will need two Sharkbite 90 degree elbows and one Sharkbite coupling.
Two foot of 1/2" copper pipe
Mini tubing cutter
Hacksaw
Sand cloth

That valve is not doing anything for you. It appears to be just a stop valve not even a stop and waste valve. You could turn it off but you couldn't drain the pipe to the hose bib. With the frost free hose bid you don't need it.

The pipe parallel to the joist will move over to meet the now shorter pipe coming across the joist.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top