Whether it's for watering the lawn, cleaning the car or showering by the pool, an outside faucet is versatile extension of the home environment. Your climate might vary your materials and techniques a little, but do-it-yourself types can install an outside water faucet handily with a little planning and a trip to the home improvement store.
Planning Your Faucet
Pick your location and determine the distance between the closest pre-existing water lines in the home and your outside water faucet installation. Always be sure to shut your water off at the main valve before cutting into any pre-existing water lines. If you're attaching the faucet directly to your home, you can attach a flush-mounted outside faucet. For applications such as showers, exterior sink systems, or for just getting it closer to your garden, you can use a free-standing outside water faucet system.
Outdoor Faucets and Your Climate
The climate conditions where you live will dictate the materials that you need and even some of the techniques for installing your outside water faucet. In warmer climates where the temperature never drops far enough to worry about water freezing in the pipes, it is simple and practical to use a PVC pipe system. This system involves lengths of PVC pipe that connect with smaller pieces into which the lengths are slid. A primer is added to the pipes, and they are glued together with PVC cement. However, if you live in a climate where water freezing in the pipes is a reality or a concern, then the process must be adapted.
Probably the most drastic change is in the faucet or silcock itself. You will need to install a frost-proof sillcock. This type of faucet is from six to twelve inches long and has shut-off valves that are on the inside as well as the outside. This allows the water to be shut off inside the house where the pipe is being kept reasonably warm by the heat in the home. The pipes will also have to be as weather resistant as possible, and usually coated or wrapped in some type of insulation. In extreme weather climates many people choose to use electric heat tape or cable for places where the pipes are exposed. It can be plugged into a normal outlet to keep the pipes from freezing.
Types of Outdoor Faucet Applications
A flush-mount faucet is used by installing a tee in an existing water line and sticking a pipe through the wall. The faucet is then mounted directly to the house. A free-standing outside water faucet will require routing the water from a pre-existing water line with climate-appropriate pipes to a new location where it will need to be supported by a pole, four-by-four timbers, or a decorative column for shower applications. For most other applications, use a four-by-four timber standing on end, buried and cemented into the ground to make it secure. Leave three or four feet of the timber exposed for mounting the faucet.
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