I was watching one of the various varieties of the Holmes On Homes/Holmes
Inspection/Holmes Makes It Right/Holmes For The Holidays/Holmes Is Where
The Heart Is/etc. shows last night.
They showed one of those Frost Proof Sillcocks that had frozen and split.
It turns out that it had been installed with a slant towards the interior
of the house so that it didn't drain. The water that collected near the
interior shut off froze and split the device. The plumber said that the
owner probably wouldn't have known it was split until they turned the water
on and it sprayed out of the split, which they wouldn't see until they came
back into the house. He said that they should be installed slanted outward
so that they drain.
That got me thinking, which is always dangerous.
Wouldn't there be a vacuum effect that would prevent the sillcock from
draining even if it was slanted outwards? With the tube filled with water,
how would air get into the device to allow the water to drain?
I think you're thinking of the way water won't drain out of a narrow
tube. The water clings to the walls of the tube.
In the case of a water line, the tube is wide enough that surface
tension doesn't matter.
The HO needs to take the hose off, when cold season occurs.
I've seen it before, people leave the hose on. The tube
stays full of water, and they curse the ancestors of the
The valve is 10 or 12 inches back from the turn handle.
Long, long, long valve stem. Ideally, they drain out
the open thread end, since the hose is taken off the
There is a beveled spacer to be betweeon wall and bib. Whoever
installed it was not paying attention or s(he) was an idiot?
I have several of them out t my cabin. Since it was built more than
10 ers ago, nothing happened to them. I has also heated basement.
Owner ought hear the water gushing out......!
I'm with Oren on this one.
When I replaced the frost free faucet in my sister's house, I soldered
in a ball valve with drain just a foot or two upstream of it. One like
By having a ball valve upstream of the frost free hydrant, you can
service it easily without turning water off to anything more than that
By having a drain cap on the downstream side of the ball valve, it
doesn't matter which way the piping slopes. If it drains to the
outside, good. If it drains to the inside, you empty the piping by
using the drain on the ball valve.
And, leaving the drain cap loose on the ball valve is advantageous
because if the ball valve ever starts to leak, the water will leak out
the drain rather than fill the piping downstream of the ball valve and
possibly freezing to crack the frost free hydrant.
Using a ball valve with drain upstream of the hydrant allows you to
protect that hydrant from cracking due to freezing no matter what.
On Wed, 13 Nov 2013 21:14:18 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03
Some of them have vacuum breakers. This one mentions the valve should
be slanted downwards.
Also says the hose must be disconnected before freezing weather.
I think these things are totally unnecessary. Cost 6-8 times more
than a common reliable hose bib.
I have 2 hose faucets and before winter I just close the inside
valves, disconnect the hoses and open the faucets. BFD
The pipes from the inside valve to the outside faucet look level to
me. They drain fine. Galvanized steel pipes.
DerbyDad is saying that he's seen many references on how to install an
frost proof outdoor hydrant, and none of them have recommended
installing a shut off valve with drain upstream of the hydrant.
I believe that because most of these TV shows rely solely on the
knowledge of the film crew and actors/contractors in putting the show
together, and these guys don't know everything just as none of us do.
But, what bugged me is that when I did see a DIY show that did suggest
the shut off valve with drain upstream of the frost free hydrant, the
dummies soldered the valve in with the handle on top and the drain at
the SIDE of the valve body so that not all the water would drain out.
It takes someone who's brain is barely funtioning from lack of use not
to realize that even if the pictures always show the drain at the side
of the valve...
that the valve should be soldered in with the drain at the bottom and
the handle sticking out horizontally at the side. That way, all the
water drains out cuz the drain is at the lowest point in the piping. It
surprised me that no one the team that made the TV show or VHS video
that I watched ever suggested they orient the valve differently so that
the drain is at the bottom.
You're 100% correct. In the photo of the valve, the drain is clearly
located at the side of the valve.
However, no where does it say that the valve should be installed
vertically as shown in the photo. As soon as you change the orientation
of the handle, then the drain is still located at the side of the valve,
but the whole valve has been rotated and so the "side" of the valve now
faces up or down. That is, the drain is located at the "side" of the
valve only when the valve is installed vertically as shown in the photo,
and that's not a requirement.
We live in a world where things aren't always intuitive. Professional
boxers used to suffer from dimentia in their autumn years, and it seemed
intuitive that this was because every time they took a punch in the
face, their skulls would be pushed backwards causing their brains to
slam against the inside of the skull directly behind their foreheads.
The problem was that the kinds of mental abilities that boxers lost in
their autumn years were all associated with the rear part of the brain,
not the front part of the brain. Autopsies done on professional boxers
confirmed that it was the BACK of their brains that were severely
damaged from bruising, not the fronts of their brains. Well, it turns
out that the mucous fluid that surrounds the brain inside the skull is
denser than the brain tissue itself. The brain basically floats in this
dense viscous mucous fluid. So, when a boxer is punched in the face and
his skull is pushed backward, the inertia of the mucous fluid causes it
to accumulate at the front of the skull, pushing the lighter brain
backward to hit against the back of the skull. So, things can often be
very different in reality to what they might seem to be at first
But, this is NOT one of those cases.
Ball valves work equally well if the stem which turns the ball is
horizontal, vertical, oriented north, west, east or south or even upside
down. So, the ball valve will work equally well in any orientation.
The drain, however, always works best if you put it at the bottom.
On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:12:38 PM UTC-5, nestork wrote:
That is because none is required. I've seen some cases where
they have installed a shut-off, but never a drain. The shut-off
apparently is so that if you want to turn it off so that no one
can turn it on from outside, eg when you're away, you can do so.
I wouldn't bother. If I'm going away for an extended period, I
just turn the main water valve off to prevent any accidental water
even anywhere in the house.
Apparently they know how to put in the freeze-proof sillcock,
because they did it correctly from what has been described here.
What exactly is the purpose of putting in a drain that
no one is ever going to use? The freezing section of the valve
assembly drains itself, unless you install it incorrectly, tilted
inward. Your additional drain valve would drain a couple inches
of pipe between the drain valve and the valve at the end of the
FP sillcock, which is inside, where it can't freeze. Good grief.
And of course such a drain would serve no purpose.
What I'm saying is that if a person is installing a frost proof outdoor
hydrant, it's a good idea to put a ball valve with drain a foot or two
upstream of the outdoor hydrant.
The drain on the ball valve should be on the downstream end of the ball
valve and the ball valve should be installed horizontally with the drain
at the BOTTOM of the ball valve.
That way, it doesn't matter which way your piping slopes. If your
piping slopes the wrong way after you're done, you can:
1. Close the ball valve,
2. Open the outdoor hydrant, and
3. Drain all the water out of the piping by using the drain on the ball
And, that way you get an extra 12 to 24 inches of frost protection
It's a good idea to have a shut off valve upstream of the frost proof
hydrant anyway so that you can service the hydrant without shutting off
the water to any more of the house than the hydrant.
However, for the few cents more that it costs to buy a shut off valve
with a drain, you get that extra 12 to 24 inches of frost protection,
which in my view, is money well spent. If you have a particularily cold
winter, you can open the drain on the ball valve and be confident that
no matter how cold it gets, there won't be any cracked piping.
On Thursday, November 14, 2013 11:47:33 AM UTC-5, nestork wrote:
Around here a hydrant is what dogs piss on.
Let me get this straight. While putting in a freeze-proof
sillcock, instead of just making sure it's horizontal or
slightly sloping outward, you should instead screw up the
install, let it slope the wrong way, but put in an extra valve
with drain so that you can then drain it? Good grief!
The whole point of the freeze-proof sill cock is that it's
long enough so that it won't freeze. They come in various lenths,
up to at least 24" so that the valve section is inside WHERE IT
CAN"T FREEZE. You can leave it on
all year and you don't have to fiddle around turning off
the sillcock and draining it. What idiot would put one in
and then a use another valve with drain to turn it off
and drain it?
It's a sillcock. The hydrant is what dogs piss on. And if
you need to service it, how about if you need to service the
extra valve you just put in, the drain that starts leaking
over time, etc?
A valve with drain is just a few cents?
you get that extra 12 to 24 inches of frost protection,
If the frost proof sillcock is installed correctly,
it won't freeze. If you install it half-assed, then
you shouldn't be installing one. And if you're going to
put a valve and drain the pipe manually, then why on earth
would you put in a freeze-proof one to begin with?
On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 6:49:56 PM UTC-5, Vic Smith wrote:
So what? It still only costs $20 and they last for
And then besides having to remember to do that, go through
it each year, you also have no water available outside for
months. With a freeze-proof one, if you need to wash something
off on a moderate winter day, the water is available.
In fact, it would be nice if they plumbed one near the
garage with both hot and cold water, so that you could
mix it as needed.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.