Many years back my father installed a back yard spigot near his garden.
The shut off valve sits below the frost level covered by a cast iron
This valve hasn't been operated for years. Part of me would like to
begin using it. The other part says forget it as it will likely be too
corroded by now and break instead. Since several weeks still exist
before serious cold arrives what would you suggest?
Another valve exists in the house feeding the line to the back yard.
That line also consists of a spigot on the exterior basement wall of the
house. Past techniques were to shut off the inside valve, open both
exterior spigots, then blow some air through the line to allow expansion
of any remaining water.
You are probably correct that if the outside valve hasn't been used in
years, it is probably not going to function well. If the inside cutoff is
in good shape, you are probably safe in giving it a try. Worst case is you
close the inside valve and either abandon the outside spigot or dig it up
and replace it.
But if the inside valve is also suspect, I'd not mess with it unless you are
ready to make any necessary repairs.
Start with locating and using the shut-off for the whole house. That
way no matter what else happens, you can preventt a flood and a large
water bill. Once you are sure that it is working reliably, then check
the shutoff closest to the house, then once that is working, move on
to the garden shutoff.
Agree with the advice already given. With an underground valve that
hasn't been opened in years you do run the risk of it possibly not
fully closing, etc. so you should only do it when you are prepared to
deal with the potential problems and have a plan.
Whether you need to blow out the lines with air depends entirely on
how they are installed. It sounds like you have one ordinary
sillcock. Normally those are not blown out. They are plumbed with
a slight downward tilt. Inside, you shut them off for the winter and
open the outside valve letting the water run out. You could replace
it with a freeze proof one. They work by having the actual valve at
the end of a long body so that the valve is inside the house.
The garden spiggot apparently has the valve and line installed below
the frost line. Given that, it should not need to be blown out. If
it did need to be blown out, what would the point be in placing the
line and valve below the frost line?
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