An outdoor water spigot’s main purpose is to provide easy access to clean water from outside the house. By installing a water spigot, you don’t need to run inside for water, run a line from an indoor sink or tap into the main water pipe. It functions as an outdoor faucet, making all chores that require water, such as construction, repairing or washing your car far easier. However, over time, given the fact that they are exposed to outdoor conditions, they tend to crack, leak, corrode or get damaged in different ways. This means they need to be maintained, as well as repaired. Here is the handyman’s guide to the perfect water spigot, which will help you do all that.
How to install an outdoor water faucet
The first step into the handyman’s guide to spigots is installing one. You will be happy to learn that this is an easy task, which should take the course of a weekend. It’s also relatively cheap, going anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the materials you need to buy.
- Choose the location. The ideal spot should be near a cold water line.
- Drill a hole in that location that is larger than the outdoor faucet’s diameter. Be careful to drill it at a slight angle, so as to allow water to sip out when the faucet is turned off.
- Wrap some plumber’s sealing tape three times around the tailpiece’s threads. Use a wrench to tighten the adapter and turn it at least one-and-a-half full turns past hand tight.
- Insert the faucet into the hole facing downwards. Also, attach its flange to the wall using screws.
- Turn off the water, cut the pipe with a special tubing cutter, fit in the tee and leave it there for now. Cut a piece of pipe long enough to fit between the tee and the adapter.
- Remove both the pipe and the tee. Clean the pipe very well until the metal looks shiny. Put soldering flux on all its ends, then assemble all the pieces.
- Using a hot propane torch, solder all the connections in turn. With a wet rag, wipe the joints after you’ve soldered them to get rid of any excess flux.
- Remember to let the whole system properly cool down prior to reinstalling the valve stem into the faucet.
- Turn the water on and make sure there are no leaks.
How to replace a water faucet or water spicket
As mentioned in the beginning, due to the fact that they are constantly exposed to rain, snow, wind, sun, and frost, water spigots may get damaged to some extent. In this case, you have to replace it. Just like the installation, this too is something you can easily do yourself. Here are the main steps.
- Turn off the water from the main water valve.
- Open the spigot and let all the water trapped in it spill out.
- Remove the part that is damaged. You can use adjustable pliers to get a hold of the spigot’s body and twist it off.
- All the pipes threads need to be cleaned using a pipe brush.
- Use plumber’s tape to wrap the pipe threads. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
- Put in the new spigot and use your hands to tighten it. When you feel you cannot do it manually anymore, use the pliers to fit it. Wrap it in a towel first so that you don’t damage it.
The frost free faucet makes all the difference
If you happen to live in a very cold area where temperatures often go below freezing point, the outdoor faucet faces the risk of bursting. This is not a problem only because of the damage to the spigot itself, but because it might let water flow continuously out of it without you knowing. This will translate into a very high water bill later on.
One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is by replacing them with frost-free faucets. They work the same as ordinary spigots do. The only difference is that their valve chamber is much longer, being some 24 inches long. This detail places it inside the house where it’s not exposed to freezing temperatures anymore. Also, when the faucet is off, there is no water to be found near the spout, so it cannot freeze.
Another way in which you can protect a classic water spigot from freezing is by using a faucet cover. These are very cheap, and you can buy them anywhere, including online for fast shopping. But you can also make them yourself at home. You only need a few things, such as a big plastic container, some fiberglass pipe insulation, fence wire, and a few feet of duct tape or some other type that is waterproof. Instructions are only a click away so make sure you do your research before you start making your own outdoor faucet cover.
Creative water spigot designs
Just because it’s a simple outdoor water tap doesn’t mean it has to be boring or esthetically unpleasing. You can get creative and construct or put in a water spigot that matches your house’s architecture, style, and design. Here are a few unusual ideas from around the web to inspire you.
The Italian spigot, complete with stone basin
This one is simply gorgeous in terms of architectural style. It truly reminds you of beautiful villas in sunny Tuscany, and it’s not hard to construct at all. Installing the tap itself is just as described above while the stone mask and basin are simple add-ons to the wall of the house.
The dragon spout
A genuinely fantastic example of how creative you can get with something as straightforward and mundane as a water spigot, the dragon spout is a combination of Renaissance, European, and fantasy styles. Make sure your house design is up to par, though. Otherwise, it will look out of place in a classic suburban yard.
The green water spigot
It’s actually a very much traditional water tap, but one which has greens planted underneath it. Most people tend to simply place a container or a bucket underneath their outdoor tap so that the leaked water doesn’t go to waste. You can take care of that by placing beautiful flowers under it, which will also have the advantage of watering themselves.
Being the family handyman is not always easy, but water spigots are not such a big task to undertake. In case something goes wrong with yours, take a long weekend to solve it, following our handyman’s guide to the perfect water spigot. You’ll come to enjoy it, we promise!