Fix a Leaky Sillcock

You have two or more sillcocks on your house even if you don’t know the name sillcock. They are the outside faucets where you connect garden hoses and they often leak. If a sillcock leaks when the water is on you are in luck as the fix is relatively easy. This leak is caused by a loose packing nut. To tighten it, remove the handle by removing the screw. It is usually a Phillips head screw. Behind the handle you will see the packing nut, which is usually white plastic. To tighten it use a ¾ inch open end wrench or an adjustable wrench. This nut has a left-handed thread, which means you turn it counterclockwise to tighten it. Do not over-tighten it, as it is plastic and can be damaged with too much force. If the sillcock drips when it is turned off, you have a more complicated problem. The fix is internal and will require that the water main is turned off so you can disassemble the sillcock. Most of the houses in Sun City do not have a ball valve on the water line to the sillcock so you must turn off the water to the house.

When you turn the knob on the sillcock to turn off the water you are actually closing a valve twelve inches inside the house. It is designed this way so that in the winter the water is in the warm zone and not exposed to the cold outside air, where it might freeze.

The sillcocks on most Sun City houses have a 12-inch extension. There are kits containing the replacement parts to fix a leaky sillcock available at hardware stores and home centers.

To install the replacement parts, turn off the main water shut off to the house. Remove the handle to the sillcock. Under the handle, you will see a white plastic packing nut. With a ¾-inch open end wrench turn this nut clockwise to remove it (left-handed thread). Sticking out of the sillcock where you removed the packing nut you will see a square 1/4 inch copper piece where the handle attaches. Using a 1/4 inch wrench unscrew this piece by turning it counter-clockwise. Pull this piece out and you will

have a 16” long copper rod. All of your replacement parts consisting of rubber washers and o-rings will be installed on this rod. Follow the instructions that come with the replacement parts kit.

Reverse the disassembly steps to reassemble your sillcock.

You should now have a leak free sillcock.

Question: I would like to know how to remove large mirrors from my bathrooms. I have a Pulte home about 12 years old. The mirrors have dot looking spots and I want to replace them. Should this be done by a professional? Do you know of any that will do this kind of work?

Answer: Just the fact that you are asking the question, yes, you definitely should have a professional do this work. Working with large sheets of glass that are adhered to the wall can be very dangerous. One company that could replace your mirror is Touch of Glass. They usually have a booth at the Sun City consumer expo.

If you have suggestions for future tips or have questions about maintenance around your home submit them to ask.the.woodchucks@gmail.com.

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