How Does a Freeze Proof Outdoor Faucet Work?

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    Compression Faucets

    • A freeze-proof faucet is a compression faucet. When you twist the handle on a compression faucet, you turn a valve stem that extends down into the faucet body. Turning the handle counterclockwise creates a gap between the bottom of the valve stem and the narrowing part of the faucet, allowing water to flow out of the faucet’s spout. Turning the handle clockwise closes the gap inside the faucet, shutting off the flow of water. A rubber gasket or seal sits on the end of the valve stem, keeping any water from escaping around the valve stem.

    Frost Danger

    • An outdoor faucet sits on the exterior wall of a house or other building. When the temperature outside drops at or below the point that water freezes, the water in an outdoor faucet may freeze, and the faucet or the pipe that connects to it can burst or rupture, leading to flooding in the house’s basement. You must close the shutoff valve on the faucet’s water supply line during the winter, keeping water out of the pipe and the faucet during cold periods..

    Freeze Proof Configuration

    • A freeze-proof outdoor faucet has a slightly different configuration than other outdoor faucets, allowing you to use the faucet during the winter without fear of the water freezing and causing the faucet or pipe to burst. The valve stem inside the faucet is longer than on other outdoor compression faucets, which means that when the faucet isn't running the water sits deeper in the supply pipe. The water stays inside the insulated house plumbing to avoid freezing.

    Leaks

    • If a freeze proof-outdoor water faucet develops a leak, the leaking water can lead to the faucet or water pipe bursting in freezing temperatures. Once you notice the freeze-proof faucet leaking, you must take steps to fix the leak before a problem develops. Shut off the water to the faucet and use a wrench to loosen the nut on the faucet’s body, allowing you to pull out the valve stem. With the valve stem out of the pipe, you can pull off the old rubber seal and install a replacement before putting the faucet back together.

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