Handle cracked off outdoor faucet

roxylNovember 28, 2006

The plastic handle on our outdoor faucet broke off. It now has just a screw to turn it on or off. So far at HD and Lowes I can't find another handle to match snugly. They have suggested that I may need to unscrew the entire faucet from the pipe in the wall and replace the whole thing. We are very novice diy folk. What suggestions do you have? I'd much rather just find a stupid handle. Is replacing the spigot a diy for dummies project, or do we need to bite the bullet and hire a plumber?

Thanks for your advice

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"Is replacing the spigot a diy for dummies project"

Yes. Get a metal one this time, the handles have been available since before plastic was a mistake at a GE lab.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 12:50AM
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I think you should be able to find a handle match...there aren't that many varieties. Did you save the broken one? If you can't find one at HD, try a plumbing supply store. If you really need a valve replacement, you'll need to shut off the water at the meter, and use a large wrench to unscrew the valve, and another one to keep the pipe from turning. For someone who is not very DIY-oriented, you could end up with some complications, so I suggest you opt for looking harder for a replacement handle.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 1:38AM
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Thank you for your swift reply! How would I go about replacing the spigot? I assume turn off the water. Will enough water drip between the walls to cause a problem when I unscrew it? The guy at HD made it sound like if I couldn't unscrew it properly, I'd have to tear out the wall to fix the problem (all the while having no water till I could find a plumber). That of course has me a little spooked. Would you mind giving a poor soul some instructions?
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 1:42AM
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when you turn the water off, open the lowest faucet in the house, that will drain residual water from the piping.
I highly recomend replacing the handle, no need to over complicate it. Unsrew the screw and find a handle that fits the faucet.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 3:36AM
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Our outdoor faucet is attached to a copper pipe, with a cut-off valve inside the house. It is easy for me to turn off the valve inside, and isolate the faucet from the rest of the plumbing. This is standard in Wisconsin, because we have to turn off outdoor faucets and allow them to drain dry every fall, or risk freeze damage during the winter months. You might have a cut-off valve in your plumbing, and if so, you can do the same. Just turn it off, and then repair the outdoor faucet. If you have no cut-off valve, you might consider having a plumber put one in.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 1:25PM
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It is true that you can mess this up inside the wall. For example, if you try to unscrew the faucet and the pipe that it is attached to turns instead, you'll end up with the pipe coming out of the wall; this is not a disaster, but you'll have to properly reinstall it using teflon tape and hoping you get it in right so that it won't leak later. On the other hand, if the faucet is attached to copper pipe, you have to be careful not to bend or crack the copper. So, it might be easy, or it might be a mess, depending on what you've got there. That's why we're encouraging you to find a new handle if you can.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 1:59PM
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The best solution is to call a plumber to put a good no freeze faucet on. I have had to do it twice. The first time I had a cheap setup on like you have and had to repace it a year or two later. Also the first time I tried to replace it myself and twisted the copper pipe off resulting in a call to the plumber. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 7:16PM
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