If you’re really an avid do-it-yourselfer, then you probably enjoy outside jobs most of all. After all, unless you’re going to employ yourself by weeding the garden, there is no greater chore to be done than the one that requires you to be outside on a beautiful day.
It seems the vast majority of all of those outside jobs eventually lead to a need for a water supply. Is your outside water spigot located in the area where you need it most? Does your valve work properly and not leak? Does your current spigot have an anti-syphon device installed to prevent backflow in the event of a pressure loss? If you answered no to any of these questions, The Plumbing Circle is here to help.
Getting The Water From Where It Is To Where You Want It
If you already have an outside spigot or faucet (sometimes called a sill cock) but it’s not conveniently located, the easiest method to get the water where you want it is to run a long hose to the desired location. It’s quite possible, however, that you don’t want a long garden hose as a permanent solution, or you’re not comfortable leaving a hose outside under pressure for long periods. If this is the case, then you may want to think about a new spigot.
Obviously, the first step is to pick a location on your house that is convenient. Having more than one choice, or a fairly wide area to pick from, gives you the best chance of finding a spot inside near a current water source. Note: If your house is built on a slab with no basement or crawl space, and you’re intent on doing the job yourself, you’ll need to pick a spot in front of a bathroom or kitchen that already has plumbing near the outside wall.
Once you’ve found your preferred choices of places to install it, go into your basement or crawl space. If you don’t have a basement or crawl space, then go into your home and find the nearest water supply. Most spigots are made to be connected to a ¾ inch supply line, and many municipalities require this anyway.
Getting The Water Outside The House
Now that you’ve picked your spot and found the water source for your spigot, let’s see about installing it. Your first step here is deciding how you’re going to make your connections. If you’ve got copper water pipes, you can solder, or use push-on fittings. If you’ve got galvanized steel pipes, you’ll need to cut, thread, install a threaded tee, and install a dielectric union to connect it to the new copper or brass fitting (it may be worth it to hire a plumber to at least install the tee, or run the pipe to the transition to the threaded piece your spigot will connect to). If you have PEX plastic tubing for your water line, you can easily use the push-on fittings. Whichever type of piping you’re starting at, the end result should include a ¾ inch stop-and-waste shut-off valve leading to a ¾ inch female adapter, in an area not subject to freezing (a stop-and-waste valve allows you to drain the line leading outside after you shut the valve for the winter). Install all of the pipes and assemblies without making them up permanently (sometimes called a dry fit) until all measurements are accurate and everything fits properly.
If at all possible, use a frost-free spigot valve. This will serve two purposes; first it will help prevent freeze-up should you leave the shut-off valve open and second, it is long enough to ensure that all of your joints are safely on the inside of your home, and not within the walls (they are available in a variety of lengths to accommodate different types of walls). If you do use a frost-free valve, it will come with an anti-syphon device preinstalled. If you buy a standard spigot, you’ll need to buy a vacuum breaker to connect to the hose side of the valve to prevent backflow in the event of pressure loss.
To accommodate a ¾ inch pipe, you’ll need to drill a 13/16 or 7/8 inch hole in the wall. If you use a frost-free valve, you can push it through the hole and thread it into your female adapter using Teflon tape as a sealant. If you are using a standard spigot valve, use the Teflon tape to make the valve up to your female adapter before pushing it through the hole and connecting it inside. Note: If you’re using a standard no frost-free spigot and are using push-on fittings, you may need a wider hole in the wall in which to fit the pipe. Be sure to premeasure to get this right.
After you have permanently made-up all of your joints, use an outside quality silicone caulking to seal the area between the spigot and your house, to prevent cold air or moisture from getting into your walls and your home.
Once this is done, turn the water back on to the area, hook up the hose, and chase your spouse and kids around the yard spraying them with the hose to ensure everything works properly.