Installing and Repairing Sillcocks and Other Types of Valves

How To Repair a Sillcock

repairing sillcocks and common valve typesA sillcock is a compression faucet attached to the outside of the house.  Repair a leaky sillcock by replacing the stem washer and the O-ring.

Sillcocks can be damaged by frost in the winter, according to the Concord plumbing specialists, leaving the homeowner with a ruptured pipe.  To prevent pipes from rupturing, close the indoor shutoff valve at the start of the cold weather season, (if you haven’t done so yet and you haven’t experienced a rupture; do so now.)  Disconnect all garden hoses, and open the sillcock to let trapped water drain out.

A special frost-proof sillcock has a long stem that reaches at least 6″ inside the house to protect it from cold.  Install a sillcock so the pipe angles downward from the shutoff valve.  This allows water to drain away each time the faucet is turned off.

Sillcock Repair Tip:

  1. Remove sillcock handle, and loosen retaining nut with channel-type pliers.  Remove stem.  Replace O-ring found on retaining nut or stem.
  2. Remove the brass stem screw at the end of the stem, and replace the washer.  Reassemble the sillcock.

Common Types of Valves

  • Gate valve has a movable brass wedge, or “gate,” that screws up and down to control water flow.  Gate valves may develop leaks around the handle.  Repair leaks by replacing the packing washer or packing string found underneath the packing nut.

  • Globe valve has a curved chamber.  Repair leaks around the handle by replacing the packing washer.  If valve does not fully stop water flow when closed, replace the stem washer.

  • Shutoff valve controls water supply to one or more fixtures.  A shutoff valve has a plastic spindle with a packing washer and a snap-on stem washer.  Repair leaks around the handle by replacing the packing washer.  If a valve does not fully stop water flow when closed, replace the stem washer.  Shutoff valves with multiple outlets are available to supply several fixtures from a single supply.

  • Saddle valve is a small fitting often specified to connect a refrigerator icemaker or sink-mounted water filter to copper pipe.  A saddle valve contains a hollow spike that punctures water pipe when vale is first closed.  The fitting is sealed with a rubber gasket.  Some codes prohibit their use.  A dual-outlet shutoff valve or a T-fitting are better substitutes.

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