Just ’cause I think it’s pretty…

We’re supposed to be in the middle of a week of winter weather. And it is a bit cooler than I would have chosen but otherwise it’s nice. Lots of sun, no wind, an absolute minimum of apocalypse.

I know saying that out loud will probably jinx it. And the weatherman is still saying that tomorrow comes the deluge. But the weatherman said the same thing about today. I won’t curse him for being wrong. I’ll just count my blessings and go for a nice mid-day walkie instead.

And hey, check this out…

My yard spigot has been dripping for most of the winter, ever since the first hard freeze. And it’s leaking in two different languages: The valve gasket is shot, so that without the diverter on the end of the spout it runs as if the valve is open. AND either the valve stem was leaking or the casting itself was cracked. It looked like that second thing but I couldn’t believe it: It was dripping right under the stem so it had to be that, right?

Well, no. After careful examination it turns out the spigot is leaking from the underside of the casting itself. Cracked in the freeze, I guess. Never saw that before. Anyway, a fix would be very cheap and simple – I even bought a replacement spigot – except that THE IDIOT PLUMBERS WHO WORKED ON THE PIPES AROUND THE WATER TANK IN 2020 TOOK IT UPON THEMSELVES TO REMOVE MY SHUT-OFF VALVE. So the only way I can replace the spigot without dumping 2500 gallons of water in my yard is to drain the tank first, something I prefer not to do before the weather warms up. I’ve just been living with the drip, emptying the bucket every day or two – except it recently got twice as bad for no apparent reason. I started to think this wasn’t going to be tolerable till April as planned.

So this morning I looked it over very carefully, and it really looked like the drip was coming from the casting, not the stem. I wrapped a rag around the stem to soak up any leak, and the drip was completely unimpaired. So I did something stupid…

I brought my partial roll of Flex-tape into the cabin, cut off a piece and warmed it up on the bedroom heater till it was good and flexible, right? Then I took it outside and stuck it on the bottom of the spigot.

There was no way this was going to work, right? I mean, come on.

So far it has completely patched the drip. Go figure.

I still have to drain the tank and replace the spigot, obviously. But I’d really rather not do it with the daytime temps in the mid-thirties. I’ve nursed it along since December – maybe I can make it till April.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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14 Responses to Just ’cause I think it’s pretty…

  1. Anonymous says:

    As Seen On TV!

    Build the speedboat yet?

  2. Anonymous says:

    What kind of water pressure are you dealing with?
    I’m thinking that if it’s low enough, like gravity fed, and you had the new spigot ready to go, maybe you could change that “on the fly”. Guaranteed to get you wet, but possible, especially if the new spigot is open.
    Risky business, but I’ve done that on boat thru hull fittings (way below the waterline) to replace 3/4 pipe ball valves. Risky business, but it saved having to pull 70 foot boats out of the water because the ball valves were cracked and leaking.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When you do drain the tank I hope you replace the shutoff. Al e

  4. Ben says:

    Yeah, I vote for the “on the fly” method. Use compression fittings, which your local Ace hardware likely won’t have. With a little forethought, you could likely add a new shutoff valve with the same stuff. They make a long “repair “ coupling that makes that type of inline job possible, if not easy.

    PVC compression fittings are expensive, but they are also re-usable, which can actually make them cheaper in the long run.

  5. Joel says:

    There’s nothing wrong with any PVC. The line down from the tank is flexible pipe and it’s fine.

    I certainly thought about trying to (wetly) replace the spigot without draining the tank. One reason I always planned to wait till things are warmer. 🙂 But I also need to install a new shut-off valve between the tank and the yard faucet, and since I really hate doing plumbing work anyway it makes sense to go ahead and drain the tank and do it all at once. I’ve dug it all up in winter before, the ground never stays frozen for very long here, but if I can put it off till early Spring I definitely will.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can you poke something “pluggy” on the end of a rope and stick into the tank so the flow sucks it onto the outflow? Just something to severely slow the egress while you work downstream. The flabbiest of the plumbers might work, but perhaps a ball wrapped in shaggy rags would be more explainable, even if it is the middle of the desert…

  7. Joel says:

    The flabbiest of the plumbers might work,…


  8. malatrope says:

    For 2500 gallons, I’d do it live and get wet. You’re not working with a lot of pressure there. Assuming it’s PVC upstream from the faucet, that quick-and-dirty compression coupling suggested above is the right direction but you only need one end. Buy one of these in the right size and build up your new faucet and valve on it before you whack the old pipe. The whole assembly time should be 10 to 20 seconds including the time to make the cut.


    You’d lose less than a gallon of water even if you had the flu and were stone drunk. Then, before next winter, build yourself a tall box with styrofoam inside to sit over the whole thing so it doesn’t happen again.

  9. malatrope says:

    I meant to add, it goes without saying to leave the valve and faucet open during assembly… 😉

  10. Mike says:

    Looks like I called it back on the 24th of December when I wrote: “As for the faulty spigot, it sounds like it froze up.”

    I’m sorry to say that it looks like you have a wet future in store when the weather warms up and that spigot starts to leak again, or over the winter the spigot freezes up and bursts, and you are forced to replace it.

    I actually found a workaround for shutting off the water to the spigot before replacing it, called the Aladdin EasyFit Isolator. It is from the UK, so the price is stupid expensive. You can find them on amazon.co.uk. Here’s how it works.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sharkbite. Not my favorite but they work and they last and they install FAST.


    You can order them on Amazon if they aren’t available locally,

    B from Middleoftheright.com

  12. Arthur says:

    “The line down from the tank is flexible pipe and it’s fine.”

    Can that pipe withstand freezing without damage? Very high end industrial plumbers have a pipe freezing tool that uses a small refrigeration system and an insulated band around a pipe to lower the temp to just below freezing, which stops the flow so repairs can be made.

    A couple excavations and some dry ice should do the same thing, or maybe, regular ice and salt. As a kid we mixed crushed ice and rock salt to lower the temp of ice in a hand-crank ice cream maker. IIRC, a thick slurry of “salty ice” lowers the temp to about 5 degrees F. Dry ice is probably more dependable and faster, but I don’t know what -75F will do to the pipe.

    Excavate two lengths of the pipe a few feet apart, one to pack dry ice around the pipe, the other a few feet away where you want the new valve. If you try the “ice and salt slurry” some means of keeping the slurry contained around the pipe would have to be employed.

  13. I’m with B. Sharkbites are the DIYer’s friend. However, I only use them where I can see them, just in case.

To the stake with the heretic!