late (too late) winterizing of water faucets: 24F, can't open outside faucet

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Probably-got-thrown-out-of-his-Home Guy, who snipped a crucial part of my post when he responded, asked:

Yes.
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wrote:

I don't have a heat gun (it's probably one of the only common tools I don't have). When I need one I just filch SWMBO's hair dryer.
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Your advice is pretty lousy.
They are talking abut valves with a long shaft and the actual valve seat is some distance down the pipe. The come in lengths from about 4 inches all the way up to a foot.
On an ordinary valve the plastic seals will melt long before the solder joint melts if you are heating the valve from the outside with a propane torch. The solder joint is going to be behind the bib and in the wall.
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jamesgangnc wrote:

My advice to use a plumbing torch to thaw an outside faucet is lousy? What's your advice then smart-ass?

I don't know when new homes started to be built with those, but obviously the OP doesn't have one of those types of valves (or if he does, he doesn't know it).
It slipped my mind that they exist - anyone saying that their water valve is 1-foot inside their wall was technically correct, but it would have been more useful to say that they have a deep-reach or long-shaft exterior faucet.

I've installed (soldered) traditional gate and ball-type water valves around my home without taking them apart first, and they operate fine after installation. They either have high-temperature rubber or teflon. My exterior back-yard house faucet is a manifold of 3 lever-operated ball valves (they are quieter than gate valves) and none of their internal gaskets melted as a result of heat during soldering.
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He's not going to be heating it where the pipe solders into the valve behind the bib. If there is water in it he will never be able to unsolder it. He's going to be heating it from the outside and the other poster is corrrect, he should not put the torch flame on the stem or the packing nut. Yes they do have high temp plastic but you still don't want to put a torch on it. Ideally he would use the torch in the area at the bottom between the underside of the valve stem and the bib. The water enters the actual valve from the bottom on most common outdoor faucets.
A few minutes with a heat gun or a high powered hair dryer pointed at the bottom will achieve the same thing and is completely safe. Its not as if we're trying to come up with a high speed assembly line here, he's already spent a bunch of time trying penetrating oil on it. Not to mention just about everyone has access to a hair dryer and not nearly so many people have propane or mapp torchs.
As for manly I'll raise you and say I can unfreeze it in under 5 seconds with my oxy/act and a rosebud but I'm still more likely to use my heat gun.
I prefer the long stem valves myself but I know that in NC and VA I have owned multiple houses that did not have them and also did not have an interior shutoff valve. Buliders are cheap.
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jamesgangnc unnecessarily full-quoted:

He should pass the torch flame over the entire length of exposed pipe and the valve - no reason not to.

Exactly, which means he'll never get it so hot that he'll melt any internal plastic seals - regardless where he points it (including the top of the valve / packing nut).

Totally depends on ambient external air temperature and wind. I can easily see how a cold breeze could make it futile to use a heat gun or hair dryer - without setting up a shield around it.
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Nowhere near 2000 if waved over the faucet.

I've got no problem with that advice. Personally I'd just use the torch on mine. Brick walls. But hot water works. I thawed a car radiator that was blocked with ice at about 0 degrees F by dousing it with a couple gallons of hot water.
--Vic
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On 12/9/2010 2:11 AM, David Combs wrote:

Gonna have a sunny day any time soon? That will likely do it all by itself. Catch it just as the wall with the faucet slips into shade, before it refreezes. If you have an old windowpane and some boards or cardboard, a greenhouse around it will help matters. If the faucet is always in shade, duct tape a hair-dryer to it, pointing at the valve body, the part that is actually frozen/full of slush. BP Blaster, et al, only lubes the knob shaft, which is probably fine.
-- aem sends...
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Red Green wrote:

what, you didn't get to redoing the entire kitchen whilst you're at it? this is called mission creep.
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Red Green wrote:

http://www.bernzomatic.com/PRODUCTS/KITS/TORCHKITS/tabid/215/ctl/Detail/mid/1147/xmid/6985/xmfid/3/Default.aspx
Yep, I finally broke down and bought that same exact torch. Very handy tool, and makes sweating a lot easier.
It's also really handy for lighting the barbeque when the piezo unit is on the fritz, and I'm not in the mood to fix it.
Jon
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