sillcock hard to shut off

kas4May 26, 2012

I have two Woodford model 17P outdoor sillcocks on my 7 year old house. Both of them are difficult to shut off completely. The plastic handle is circular and no matter how hard you turn it, the water doesn't stop completely. Usually it takes several tries and lots of elbow grease to finally stop the water flow. BTW, I'm talking about the outdoor valve not the shutoff valve in the crawl space.

Is there any way to fix this or should I replace them? Thanks.

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There is a washer inside that can be replaced. Shut the water off to silcock, unscrew handle, pull it off and you can unscrew the guts to get to washer and replace.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 6:47PM
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better even is to replace whole thing with a 1/4 turn Ball Valve type which has no washers to harden over time.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 12:54AM
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"better even is to replace whole thing with a 1/4 turn Ball Valve type which has no washers to harden over time."

The unit the OP has is a 'frost prof' unit.

The actual valve is in heated space to prevent freezing.

Just replace the washer.

depending on age you may need new valve packing to seal after you take the thing apart to get to the valve.

The Teflon packing is far better than the old stuff (I purchase the Teflon stuff by the roll).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 10:49AM
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Thanks for all the help. I'd like to replace it with a 1/4 turn ball valve but I cannot find that type in a frost proof unit. Is it correct that those are not made?

If I decide to replace the washer and valve packing, where can I purchase that? Woodford sells a "repair kit" for 20 bucks but $40 seems steep to repair two sillcocks. I found the washer online for 50 cents and $12 shipping (seriously).

And what is "valve packing"?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 7:25PM
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good to know I have never owned a house where it went below freezing normally. in Texas the shut-off was always outside with the hose bib. in California the shutoff is inside but the pipe is not insulated anywhere - just a little tape where it enters the ground.

I found this video which completely shows the repair, dissembly and assembly of your model.

Here is a link that might be useful: woodford model 17 repair

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 2:57AM
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I suspect there is no problem with the faucett. The problem is a slight operator error because no one bothered to explain to the homeowner how a frost proof faucet works.

Notice from the illustration, the wall flange is mounted flush with the exterior wall of the structure and there is a long tube which passes through the wall with the actual valve seat and bibb washer on the interior end of the assembly which is within the heated portion of the structure (this is what is technically referred to as a Hydrant).

When water is turned off the stem presses the bibb washer against the seat and the water is cut off on the interior end of the tube. The residual water remaining in the tube from the bibb washer to the mouth of the faucett is intended to then drain out so there is no water in the exterior part of the faucett that could freeze.

Quite often ppl who do not understand the function assume that residual water that still comes out is leaking past the valve so they attempt to further tighten the valve, which only leads to excessive mechanical pressure on the bibb washer causing the washer to be distorted and premature washer failure.

The problem can appear even worse if there is a hose attached that has a closed nozzle on the output end. In this situation as the faucett is turned off the residual water is trapped in the faucett & hose. The actual working pressure drops but both the faucett and hose still remain full of water so if the hose happens to be heated by sunlight the water in the hose will expand and cause a backpressure to the silcock, which is then discharged through the anti-siphon backflow preventer and giving the illusion that the valve is leaking.

Properly a hose should be disconnected from a frost proof silcock as soon as you turn the water off, but in the real world we all know that is seldom if ever done.

There is a quick, simple and cheap solution. Install a plastic "Swiss Tee" on the hose thread of the faucett, then attach the hose to one side of the swiss tee. When you need the hose you can open the swiss tee to the hose and when you want to fill a pail or something directly from the faucett you can switch the hose side off and open the other side of the swiss tee to use the faucett directly.

When turning the water off, open the side of the swiss tee opposite the hose connection and leave it open. The frost proof silcock can then drain in its proper manner.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:39AM
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And make sure to pitch the darn thing to drain and use the IPT threads.

Many are not pitched and hold water.
Make sure you remove the hose to allow them to drain.

Every spring there is a rash of leaking frost proofs that froze and broke when a hose was left attached over the winter.

If they are actually screwed in it is far easier to replace them without access to the far end.
You can remove them and replace them from the outside if needed.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:31AM
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Is a "swiss tee" a 2 way hose splitter?

I like the idea of the setup Lazypup, it would sure save time on connecting and disconnecting hoses while still allowing the sillock to drain and be utilized.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 3:40PM
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"still allowing the sillock to drain and be utilized."

Only if you remember to open the T valve after closing the sillcock.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 9:37AM
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OP here. So I repaired both sillcocks with the official Woodford repair kits two years ago. Started using them frequently this week and again find it very difficult to close completely. I realize that some water will trickle out after it's closed but this is a steady stream that doesn't stop and takes several tries and a lot of force to shut off completely.

I know I can fix it with another repair kit, but is it normal for the original parts to last 7 years but the repair parts only 2 years? Should I just keep repairing these things every other year (at 20 bucks a pop) or would you recommend replacement with a different brand? Thanks for any and all advice.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:33PM
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If it were me, and it was not a big hassle to get access to where the hose bibb is connected to the piping, I'd be replacing the whole thing at this point. By the way, when you did the repair two years ago, were there any obvious signs of wear or deterioration of the old parts?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:41PM
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