How to Replace a Frost-Free Faucet

  • 01 of 06

    Replacing a Frost-Free Faucet

    Water pipe
    Johannes Schmoelz / EyeEm / Getty Images

    A frost-free faucet is designed to prevent water from freezing inside the pipe or valve and damaging it. Despite this, it is possible for a frost-free faucet to freeze in extreme cold. These faucets also can simply wear out and need replacement.

    Replacing most frost-free faucets involves shutting off the water, unscrewing the old faucet, and screwing on the new one. If your old faucet is soldered in place, you may have to hire a plumber for the job, or you can cut off the supply pipe behind the soldered fitting and install a new faucet with a push-in fitting (SharkBite is one brand). 

    Be sure to buy a new faucet that's the same size as the original. Measuring the length of the old faucet can be tricky because it runs through the wall. It is often easier to remove the old faucet and bring it with you to the store for a perfect match. 

    Supplies Needed:

    • Screwdriver
    • Utility knife
    • Tongue-and-groove pliers (two pairs, or one pair and a wrench)
    • Replacement frost-free faucet
    • Plumber's tape
    • Exterior caulk

     

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Shut Off the Water

    Main water valve
    designbase / Getty Images

    Shut off the water supply to the faucet. There may be a shutoff valve on the individual supply pipe leading to the faucet. If not, turn off the water to the house at the main shutoff valve. Open the faucet to relieve pressure in the line. 

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Unfasten the Faucet

    Unfastening the frost free faucet anchor screws
    Aaron Stickley

    Remove the screws that are holding the faucet to the exterior wall. If the faucet flange is caulked or sealed with paint, cut through the seal with a utility knife. 

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Disconnect the Faucet

    Disconnecting a frost free faucet from the water line
    Aaron Stickley

    Disconnect the faucet from the supply pipe inside the house: Grasp the pipe fitting—where the faucet connects to the supply pipe—with tongue-and-groove pliers (a.k.a. Channel-locks) or a wrench to hold it securely and prevent it from turning. Use tongue-and-groove pliers to turn the faucet pipe counterclockwise until it is disconnected from the fitting. Note: Some water may drip from the pipe and/or the faucet. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Remove the Faucet

    Removing a frost free faucet
    Aaron Stickley

    Pull the faucet out from the wall on the exterior side. Purchase a new faucet of the same size. 

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Install the New Faucet

    Newly installed frost free faucet
    Aaron Stickley
    1. Apply plumber's tape to the threads of the new faucet, wrapping the tape four or five times in a clockwise rotation (when viewed from the end of the faucet pipe). 
    2. Insert the faucet pipe through the wall from the outside.
    3. Connect the faucet to the supply pipe fitting inside the house, turning the faucet pipe clockwise into the fitting by hand until the connection is snug.
    4. Tighten the faucet with two pairs of pliers (or pliers and a wrench), keeping the supply pipe stationary so as not to damage any connections elsewhere on the line. It is helpful to have a second person on the outside of the house telling you when the faucet is pointing down (or you can draw a mark on the faucet indicating which way is down before putting it in the wall).
    5. Turn the water back on—opening the shutoff valve slowly—and check the new faucet for leaks (this is another instance when a helper is useful).
    6. Secure the faucet flange to the outside of the wall with screws. You can use the old screws or replace them with new ones. 
    7. Apply a bead of exterior caulk all the way around the faucet flange to create a watertight seal against the house wall.