replacing outside faucet

Let's say you wanted to replace your outside faucets with freeze-free faucets.
Would it be normal to remove the old faucet first - measure how long it is then buy the correct sized faucet?
I bought a faucet assuming that my house was approximately 5" thick. Turns out I was grossly mistaken as my house at that one particular spot happens to be about 10" thick. But is there another way to get the length of the pipe run necessary without shutting off your water dismantling the plumbing and physically measuring the pipe?
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Eigenvector wrote:

Well, one thought that comes to mind is to use a piece of wire, like maybe coat hanger, and run it along side the pipe until you can see the wire end on other side of wall. Then mark the wire, remove and measure.
--reed
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Doh! Yes of course you're correct. That would have been the smart thing to do.
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If your original faucet was also "freeze proof" then, yes, it makes sense to remove it and take it to the hardware store and buy a replacement of similar size. But unless you left a hose connected and it was damaged by freezing, you can usually keep them working indefinitely by replacing washers, etc.
If the original wasn't freeze proof, you will have to replace a valve with a short stem with one with an 8" or 12" stem.
I'm assuming you can get a replacement (and the various fittings) with a short drive to a hardware store.
These jobs are almost ALWAYS bigger than they seem at first. If one isn't already present, you might want to install a valve inside the house to shut off the hose bib.

Freeze proof valves have to be long to keep the cold at one end from freezing the water at the other end.
Unless you are a plumber and have a truck full of misc. fittings/pipes, your best best is to take everything apart and then go to the hardware store and buy exactly what you need. You might want to first do the simpler project of installing an inside shut off valve for the hose bib.

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