Not knowing how it works...as a new home owner I twisted the knob on
the silcock (its the one with a circular plasticky knob that needs to
be rotated counterclockwise) a bit too hard and I cracked the knob.
Last summer I replaced the knob but now its worse...there is water
gushing out from everywhere. My internal shutoff is quite a walk and
I need this working properly this summer/spring to water my backyard
properly. I hate 'the long walk' and the wastage of water and also
that the water spills on my deck that I had stained last fall.
Somewhere on the net I read that I would need a soldering gun if I
were to replace the whole assembly and that it would be a mess...I
need some guidance/reassurance if it is DIY project or not and is the
fix a simple washer and TFE tape or the whole replacement (I prefert
this not to be the problem).
As long as "water gushing everywhere" is only from the spigot and
the valve stem, all is not lost. Given your apparent level of
experience, I would not recommend a replacement as one of your first
DIY projects. However, first examine your sillcock as much as
possible. You may be lucky and the sillcock is attached to your
house plumbing with a screw on fitting (though most are soldered),
try removing the valve stem and checking the washer, valve seat and
packing and then go to the hardware store and see if they have an
identical one in stock, perhaps they have replacement stems. Buy
that and swap replacement parts (valve stem and handle). You could
get away for less than $10.
But if water is coming from any other location on the valve, call a
plumber, it needs replacing and a torch is probably required. A
soldering gun capable of doing the job is not cheap. Handling a
torch is a learned art, practicing next to the house wall is not a
I have a rule of thumb on my place, if I have to futz with a valve, I
replace it with a ball valve.
Valves with washers always require maintenance futzing with packing and
washers is not my idea of fun.
What kind of pipe do you have? And what kind of connection do you have
between the sillcock and the pipe?
If you do not know, then perhaps if you make a careful sketch or take a
digital photograph of your valve to a good hardware store they can guide you
to the best way to fix it.
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
Thank you Grandpa, mm and Roger for your detailed diagnostics. In no
particular order, following are my responses:
1. Water is gushing out only from the spigot and the knob area
only....so looks like all is not lost.
2. I live in Chicago, IL so the temps do drop below zero Fahrenheit
outside and that is where this tap is (into the backyard on my deck
and connected to my master bedroom which is heated... it is not in my
3. Yes, nothing else is cracked.
4. Yes, its a copper pipe when I look at it from the inside and then
there is a metal spigot and a plastic knob.
5. The metal spigot is screwed into the siding of my house outside my
6. As far as I can remember (I am not at home right now)...the spigot
is screwed into a teflon/plastic base on the siding and the only other
screw if the one that holds the knob in place. The knob moves out (in
the user's direction) when moved counter-clockwise and the water flow
I need to figure out how to get to the stem, the valve and the seat
out. Worst case, I will take a digital photo to the local store...
Thanks for all your help folks.
Is this a freeze proof sillcock? If it is, it's also possible it was
allowed to freeze and bust by leaving a hose attached to it, so it
couldn't drain. Would think it hard to wind up with water spewing
like this from just tightening up the shut off too much.
Also, check if it's actually soldered on. Many of the freeze proof
ones can be installed either by soldering or just screwing it on to a
Sounds like a frostfree sillcock, just put those in on my son's
house. Google it and see if it looks like yours. Trader4 is most
likely right that they just screw on. In fact, there are several
"repair your sillcock" sites that give you step by step
instructions. They come in various lengths; depending on brand, they
may not be repairable, so consider replacing it. Hardest part is
going to be holding the pipe its attached to so that it doesn't
twist into a spiral and fracture.
Let me restate my problem and add some solid facts. It is a NIBCO
sillcock (frost proof) and yes I cracked the plastic handle by
overtightening it. I replaced the plastic knob but the problem is not
that it leaks when shut off but it spews water when it is in operation
from around the plastic handle and spigot as it does from the actual
hose.. It does NOT leak when it is shut off.
Sorry for not clarifying this earlier. Any different diagnosis?
Yes, replace it. Finding NIBCO repair parts is a real pain.
Since I feel you're going to have to replace it anyway, there's no
harm is trying to fix it albeit even temporarily. There should be a
packing nut that more or less holds the stem in place. You *should*
(but remember its a NIBCO) be able to unscrew that and see what kind
of packing washer or packing thread was used to seal the nut. Then
with the packing nut off, you can unscrew the stem and check the
condition of the stem washer that hides inside the valve. Since its
a frostfree and nobody I know has fingers thin and long enough to
feel the seat, just see if the stem washer face is smooth and firm.
You should be able to at least find a stem washer and a packing
washer or packing thread to seal up the packing nut at a hardware
store's plumbing section. That should seal up the leak around the
stem. But remember, I did suggest replacing it first.
As for the spewing water at the spigot, do you have a washer in the
Ignore my messages... I found the following set of instructions for my
specific problem... this should do it I think
In order to fix this leaking around the handle,
you first remove the screw that holds the handle
on to the valve stem. Next, you remove the
packing nut - a large adjustable wrench will work.
Then you need to remove the old packing gasket
material and the brass packing washer.
Clean up the brass packing washer and replace the
packing washer, if you can find one in the size
you need. Look for a flat packing washer in your
hardware store. You can also check with a plumbing
supply jobber. It doesn't have to be the grey
clay-like material that you removed. I searched
many stores without success. I fashioned a new
packing washer out of 1/8" thick rubber, and it
worked fine. Make sure you put some thread dope
on the packing nut threads before you re-install
it. Don't over-tighten the packing nut; stop when
you get resistance. The rubber material will fill
the gap very nicely, and the leaking around the
handle should have stopped competely. There is
nothing wrong with the design of the faucet. The
correct order of re-installing these parts is:
(1) the brass packing washer
(2) the new packing gasket material
(3) the packing nut
(4) the handle
Thanks for all your support.
And as I said before, it's hard to figure out how the gushing water is
being caused by a packing problem from overtightening the handle. The
plastic handle cracking I can see. But I'd be surprised if this is
just a packing problem, as that doesn't typically go from being OK to
suddenly gushing water.
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