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The problem

My house is built on a crawlspace and the floor of the house is just a few inches above grade. The hose bibbs come straight out of the crawlspace and are thus very close to the ground. The guys who installed them 60 years ago knew this would be awkward, so they pointed the outlets 45º away from vertical.

I'm ready to solve this awkwardness in a way that does not increase the risk of freezing pipes. Here's what I've considered so far:

Frost-free sillcock

A modern, frost-free sillcock placed 18" above grade and plumbed down to the crawlspace inside an exterior wall. This is problematic because the shortest frost-free sillcock available (called a six-inch one) is actually more than eight inches long and might not fit within the thickness of the wall.

Sillcock with shutoff

A regular spigot placed 18" above grade and plumbed down to the crawlspace inside an exterior wall, but with a draining shuttoff valve inside the crawlspace. This is problematic because I might forget to shut off the water in the crawlspace and because the winter here (Colorado) is mild enough that needing occasional use of the hose during winter is inevitable.

Elaborate electromechanical solution

A regular spigot, but with a three-way solenoid valve inside the crawlspace that can shut off and drain the final leg of the spigot run, controlled by an above-ground switch. I'm not averse to setting this up, but it seems like there must be a simpler answer.

I'm not completely satisfied with any of these choices. What is the best way to raise my spigots above ground without introducing an untoward freezing risk?

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Is the awkwardness the angle of the hose connection pointing toward the ground or the fact that the shutoff handle is so low? Also, are you concerned about current vulnerability to freezing or only if you extend the external piping? –  bib Jul 18 '12 at 21:10
    
@bib, the problem is mainly the small distance to the ground, not the angle. If the spigot had the same 45º angle but were magically a foot higher, I'd be satisfied. And I'm not currently worried about freezing because the crawlspace stays pretty warm and the pipe runs horizontally directly through the wall into the crawlspace. Also, it appears to be the original spigot and pipe and has been in service for 60 years. –  ArgentoSapiens Jul 18 '12 at 22:02
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3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted

The link describes a yard hydrant or a barn hydrant. It is similar to a frost proof sillcock. The installation requires that you bury your supply line to 4 feet. The plus is you can put it any where in your yard.

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What about the following:

  1. Replace the existing bibb with an elbow pointing upward
  2. Attach a valve with a drain as shown below
  3. Add a pipe to the desired height
  4. Add an elbow and bibb

In the winter, close the lower valve and open the bibb and the drain.

valve with drain

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I would definitely be worried about remembering to drain the valve, and it's also a pain that you'd have to drain it inside. Your second option is pretty good though, otherwise.


Another option, which is probably easier, would be to make up an adapter of sorts for the outside. Take a regular spigot, attach to a 90 degree elbow, and put a hose adapter on the bottom. Mount this to the outside of your house at a convenient height. Use a washing machine hose (or preferably something slightly bigger, eg: find or make a small female-female garden hose) and connect your existing sillcock to this new contraption. Leave the existing one on all the time.

You could use CPVC if you paint it (to protect from ultraviolet) or any other material that is not going to break down when exposed to sunlight. The key is that you can disconnect and drain it. If you do end up installing a frost-free sillcock, you can winterize it by simply shutting off the sillcock and disconnecting the hose.

enter image description here

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