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WHY is my "frost free" outside barn water spigot


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#1 Sanny

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 08:01 PM

It is the standard barn spigot with the heavy duty red on/off handle that everyone has.
Just went out to fill the water tank and it seems to be frozen solid. The one inside the barn works fine and I ran a hose out to fill the water tank but I have to deal with it asap. Last year we had the whole thing replaced in December and didn't have any trouble with it freezing at all and January and February were our coldest months. If I have to, I can call the well company to come out and thaw it out however they do it, but if anyone has a way I can do it myself tomorrow and save the money I will.
I'm SO frustrated it isn't even that cold (for Minnesota anyway) it is about 6 degrees out - no wind chill or anything. I maybe could see if it was 40 below but it isn't.
Mary Sansevere
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#2 Getitia

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 08:10 PM

Did someone have a hose hooked to it? If so it will freeze up as the hose prevents the spigot from draining.

Also, at the bottom of the spigot, it should have a drain. Normally when the spigot is installed, gravel is put around the drain to allow the water to drain away quickly, if for some reason that drain is clogged or if the handle was not put all the way down, it will freeze.

If it is frozen up top, we have used a blow dryer to dethaw the upper section before - this is safer, but slower, than the blow torch which can damage the spigot if not used carefully. If you have a clog at the bottom that is not allowing your spigot to drain, about the only thing you can do, is dig it up to correct the drain problem. Can you tell that we have dealt with many frozen pipes in the past? biggrin.gif

Good luck - it is so frustrating to have your water spigot freeze on a cold night.

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#3 Farmhand

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 08:16 PM

It's a little late now, but I put a couple bales of straw around each hydrant in the winter. Helps keep the ground from freezing. Once they're froze it takes a while to thaw out. Have you had a lot of rain lately?

Edited by Farmhand, 02 December 2005 - 08:17 PM.

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#4 slv

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 08:28 PM

QUOTE(Farmhand @ Dec 2 2005, 08:16 PM)
It's a little late now, but I put a couple bales of straw around each hydrant in the winter. Helps keep the ground from freezing. Once they're froze it takes a while to thaw out. Have you had a lot of rain lately?

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Mine froze once because it wasn't draining properly. You can buy a heat tape at the local hardware store that is made just for spickets. Also I agree - do not leave your hose hooked up.

#5 Margo_C-T

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 08:31 PM

Sanny-
Did you by any chance leave a hose connected to the faucet? I found out the hard way, years ago, that the 'standpipe' cannot drain if you leave a hose attached-and that, of course, is what makes it 'freezeproof'-the fact that there's no water in the standpipe-and that it is buried far enough underground! Or-was the faucet firmly turned OFF? Sometimes the water flow will cease, but on close inspection, you will find that the handle isn't firmly seated in the full "off" position-this would allow water to remain in the standpipe, also. How deep is your bury?
I have 8 of the things here! They are all a 3 ft. bury(if your temps get to -40(!), I imagine yours are even deeper - a 4 or even 5' bury!! However, if they weren't buried deep enough for your coldest anticipated temps, this could also account for a freeze-up...though freeze-ups for that reason usually only occur after a prolonged period of really cold temps, as the freezing occurs deeper and deeper into the soil-and it seems a bit early in the winter season for that...? ( I have had to dig up(my own self, to save money)two and have them repaired in the past couple of years-but then, they were around 20 years old!) The only other thing I can think of is that something has gone wrong in the inner mechanism of the faucet, so that it isn't draining when shut off, that would cause it to freeze up.
Hope you figure it out, and the 'fix' is simple...there is NOTHING worse than having problems getting water during winter weather! Best wishes!
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#6 zacharyfarms

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 08:55 PM

YUP, a hose left on will do it everytime.. I know we just replaced the spigot on ours. no.gif
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#7 Sanny

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 09:21 PM

Fortunately I didn't leave the hose on it, but I suspect I might have been in a hurry and didn't shut it off tightly enough and I think it is frozen up top. I couldn't lift the handle at all and I had a thin ICICLE (big clue) hanging out of the spigot. GRRR.

I wasn't dressed warmly enough and it is pitch black out so all I did for the night is cover the top and wrap a heat tape around the pipe and plug it in. I figured at least that way it won't get worse overnight. Tomorrow I will take the blow dryer out and work on the top. I wish I had a blow torch, but then again, in my hands it might be a hazard and make things worse. no.gif
Mary Sansevere
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Home to AMHR and Shetland Congress National Champions:
Enchanted Hollow King Zebulon (2010 AMHR Division B Performance Horse of the Year and 2010 Super Gelding in AMHR B Performance Division) ... Classique's Phantom Gold (AMHR-record 9 Hall of Fames) ... Whispering Hill Farm Magician ... Quail Creek's Rumorhasit ... D&S Double Dutch Chocolate ... D&S Excuse My French ... Mini Bucks Little Sabrina ... Mini Bucks Pure Nitro ... Festervans Bodaous ... Bandito's Beauty Queen EH
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#8 Jean_B

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 09:27 PM

Hey, you could always move to Arkansas biggrin.gif ! You have no idea how much lower my electric bills are since moving here!! biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

But the hair dryer is a good start, but a blow torch might be better. And then bales around the area plus keeping the heat tape on there full time. And maybe build an insulated box/cover with a hinge on it to open it up when you need to use it?? That's what I did at my old place. Heck....I had a heat tape, plus a 100 watt light bulb inside the insulated box that I then covered with 3 HEAVY blankets!!
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#9 shminifancier

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 09:32 PM

I bet I know what happened~! You were in a hurry, you already said that.. You Pushed the Handle down and the water shut off, BUT I just bet you did not Push the handle FAR enough off to let the water drain back~! I can just see the handle about 1 to 2 inches from the end~! Yes the water was shut off BUT the handle has to go further to Open the Valve at the bottom of the pipe to let the water drain back below ground level which maybe 36 inches at least that far below the frost level~! I bet cha.. I hope you can get it thawed out because IF THAT did happen the frozen water is all the way to ground level and maybe some what lower.. Good luck....

Edited by shminifancier, 02 December 2005 - 09:50 PM.


#10 Farmhand

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 09:41 PM

QUOTE(shminifancier @ Dec 2 2005, 10:32 PM)
I bet I know what happened~!  You were in a hurry, you already said that..  You Pushed the Handel down and the water shut off, BUT I just bet you did not Push the handle FAR enough off to let the water drain back~!  I can just see the handle about 1 to 2 inches from the end~!  Yes the water was shut off BUT the handle has to go further to Open the Valve at the bottom of the pip[e to let the water drain back before ground~!  I bet bet cha..  I hope you can get it thawed out because IF THAT did happen the frozen water is all the way to ground level and maybe some what lower..  Good luck....

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yes.gif
Just make sure if you moved the handle, that the screw that we talked about is in the correct spot and not moved. no.gif

Edited by Farmhand, 02 December 2005 - 09:43 PM.

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