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On one side of my house, the previous owner frequently forgot to shut off the outdoor water during the winter. Given that my house is in Minnesota, it gets cold during the winter, and he had to replace plumbing twice because of busted pipes.

I'd like to avoid this nonsense (and the associated insurance costs). Ideally, I'd like to install a frost-free faucet so I have added protection in case I forget to turn it off in the winter. Unfortunately, I have about 4" from my exterior wall (siding) to the sheetrock on the other side.

The smallest frost free sillcock I was able to find is one with a 4" extension. The problem is, once I put the soldered fittings on it (a right-angle connector and a threaded connector for the sillcock) it's about 7" long. As an added bonus, the pipe to which I'm connecting is about 2" into the wall, so I lose 2".

All told, if I connect the frost-free faucet to the existing pipe, I'm looking at it sticking out of the outside of my house about 4.2". Ugh.

So, my question is sort of two part -

  1. I thought about blocking the exterior of the faucet. That is, I thought about taking a 4x4 (or a piece of wood that's an appropriate size) and cutting a section of it to place on top of the siding, into which the pipe will go, extending it away from the siding, but giving me enough room to attach the sillcock to the existing pipe. What I'm worried about is whether this is a waste of time. If the extension of the sillcock is sitting outside of the house, will it even buy me anything additional over having just a standard sillcock?

  2. Is there another way I might be able to attach this device that, in my less than infinite wisdom, I haven't thought of yet? I'm a pretty new homeowner, so it's possible that I might be able to do something else that isn't quite as ludicrous as having a 4" pipe sticking out of the side of my house. :)

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Possibly related. –  ArgentoSapiens Oct 6 '12 at 18:39
    
Can you replace some of the pipe leading up to the sillcock? As BMitch mentioned, you want the valve end of the frost-free sillcock to be well within your insulated space. Would it be possible to move or cut back the pipe leading up to the sillcock? –  Shimon Rura Oct 7 '12 at 13:39
    
Unfortunately, no. The pipe comes down vertically from within the wall (it's in the basement, which is finished, so it goes through the ceiling from my laundry room, and down to the spigot). –  jwir3 Oct 8 '12 at 19:48
    
I would be careful since, the vertical line in the exterior wall likely has to be drained in Minnesota winters. Accommodating a frost proof faucet, but still having all or part of the line in a 4" exterior wall could result in the line freezing. (even though the valve shutoff is in safe area). –  user13290 Jun 1 '13 at 23:31
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The purpose of the extension on a frost free faucet is to get the valve itself in a heated space inside of your home so that it could never freeze (see the below diagram). If you only have an inch or so of insulation that's being penetrated by these plumbing pipes, it's likely that the valve would still reach the freezing point inside of your wall. So any type of build out on the outside of your home to mount the faucet is defeating the purpose of the extension. The proper way to use this type of faucet would be to build out something on the inside of your home, which I'm guessing isn't possible, or at least unattractive in your situation.

Therefore, I'd recommend getting in the habit of shutting off the water on the inside, possibly replacing the shutoff valve with a quarter turn ball valve so that it's quick, easy, and obvious when it's been done. You want to open the outside faucets when the water has been shut off so that the lines are empty when they do eventually freeze. After they've been left to drain for a day, I cover my outdoor faucets with insulating covers. This is also a good time to drain the hoses and bring them into a protected location (e.g. a garage or shed).

enter image description here

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Well, I went with a normal sillcock and then connected it using PEX piping within the wall (which was WAY easier than soldering it... I highly recommend the gator bites fittings for anyone who doesn't want to solder). At any rate, I'll just have to drain the sillcock in late fall. At least my one in the front is frost-free. –  jwir3 Oct 8 '12 at 19:49
    
On a side note, anyone need a 3/4"x4" frost-free 1/4 turn sillcock with PEX and threaded attachments? :) –  jwir3 Oct 8 '12 at 19:50
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The faucet in the outside wall is probably piped from a water line in your basement or crawl space. It was probably poked up into the wall before exiting to the outside wall of the house so that it would be at a reasonable working height above the ground.

There is no real workable solution to get any type of frost proof faucet to work in the current faucet location with just a four inch wall thickness. So I would suggest a couple of alternatives for you to consider.

1) If there is straight through access to the basement or crawlspace from lower down on the outside wall below the current faucet location then consider installing a 12" or 18" length frost proof type faucet the lower level. This solution may entail having to squat or kneel down to attach hoses or open/close the faucet.

2) If straight through access to the basement or crawlspace is below grade on the outside of the house consider installing a window - well type thing against the outside of the basement or foundation so as to create a recessed area to accomodate the installation of a longer frost free faucet. This solution requires reaching down into the well to attach hoses and operate the faucet.

enter image description here

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If you can relocate your valve to a point opposite an interior wall, you can run it inside that wall to any depth you like, accessing the joint through the sheet-rock of the interior wall, and then closing that access with sheet-rock or installing a service door.

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This is a good suggestion. I might be able to do this, but it would take more planning than the solution I went with initially = put a normal sillcock in place and remember to drain it in the winter. ;) –  jwir3 Apr 14 at 20:12
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