How to Repair a Frost Proof Hose Bib

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Having the convenience of a frost-proof hose bib on the outside of the home allows water usage all year around. Working like a hydrant, the frost-free bib keeps the water sealed off inside the home while operating in the same manner as any other outdoor faucet. When the rubber washer seal and/or the packing O-ring fail, water leakage will occur and the frost-proof hose bib must be repaired. The do-it-yourself homeowner can complete the work in 30 minutes. The necessary tools and materials can be purchased at the local hardware store or home center.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-tip screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Lock-jaw pliers
  • Cotton swabs
  • New rubber washer seal
  • New packing seal O-ring

Turn off the water supply to the frost-free hose bib.

Open the bib to relieve residual pressure in the water supply line. Once the pressure has expired, snug the hose bib closed.

Remove the handle retaining screw, which is located in the center of the hose bib handle, using the appropriate tipped screwdriver. Turn the screw counterclockwise.

Remove hose bib handle.

Identify the packing nut. The packing nut is located at the top of the hose bib valve body directly behind the hose bib handle. The packing nut has six flat edges that facilitate the gripping of the adjustable wrench jaws.

Remove the packing nut using the adjustable wrench. Brace the hose bib valve body with the lock-jaw pliers as the packing nut is turned counterclockwise for removal. Once the packing nut is free from the threads on the valve body, slide it over the stem to remove.

Place the handle onto the stem without the retaining screw installed and turn the stem counterclockwise until it drops free from its internal helical threading.

Remove the stem assembly by pulling it out from the hose bib valve body.

Remove the rubber washer seal retaining screw from the bottom of the stem assembly using the appropriate tipped screwdriver.

Remove the old rubber washer and discard.

Clean the seat well of the rubber washer using a cotton swab. The seat well is the recess in which the rubber washer seal rests. The inner walls of the seat well recess to prevent swelling of the rubber washer when the frost proof hose bib is closed.

Install the new rubber washer into the seat well, making sure that the washer is completely seated.

Reinstall the washer retaining screw and tighten with the screwdriver. Use moderate pressure while turning the washer retaining screw until the rubber washer firmly grips the inner walls of the seat well.

Remove the old O-ring seal from the upper portion of the stem assembly. The tip of the flat-tip screwdriver can be used for this step by placing the tip under the O-ring seal to stretch it out of its recess, allowing it to be cut or rolled off the lead end of the stem. Take care not to use excessive force that may score the edges of the recessed area.

Clean the O-ring seal recess using a cotton swab.

Place the new O-ring seal over the lead end of the stem and roll it into the recess.

Place the stem back into the hose bib valve body and gently turn the stem clockwise until the internal helical threads mate.

Place the hose bib handle onto the stem without installing the retaining screw and turn the stem in a clockwise direction until slightly snug.

Remove the hose bib handle.

Install the frost-free hose bib packing nut over the stem and secure it to the valve body by turning it in a clockwise direction. Tighten with the adjustable wrench using the lock-jaw pliers to support the valve body.

Install the hose bib handle onto the stem and secure it with the retaining screw. Tighten with the screwdriver in a clockwise direction, taking care not to over tighten.

Restore water pressure to the frost-free hose bib.

Open the hose bib to flush out the water supply line and then close.

Check for leaks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take the old rubber washer seal and O-ring seal to your local hardware store or home center to compare size and style.

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