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View Full Version : Outdoor faucet frozen / limed / crusty / hard water buildup / help



Brian Kent
11-10-2014, 10:28 AM
My sister just replaced a water pipe leading to the house. The old one was disintegrating and the water carrying minerals through the system. The water is much cleaner now, but every plumbing repair has been a major work because of all of the mineral buildup. The faucet bib in the backyard is our next challenge. No amount of WD-40 soak has helped and we had tried some pretty big wrenches. It is up against the house so I can't just cut it off and start over.

Is there any product that will dissolve the mineral build-up?

David Masters
11-10-2014, 10:50 AM
I use vinegar to remove mineral build-up in various appliances.

George Bokros
11-10-2014, 10:56 AM
Have you tried CLR??

Brian Kent
11-10-2014, 11:00 AM
Both great ideas. I'll see if there is a way to hold it on to the faucet area. Otherwise, do I just wipe on or spray on?

Matt Schroeder
11-10-2014, 11:03 AM
Brian,

I have placed vinegar in a plastic bag and used a rubber band to hold the bag over a shower head for cleaning. Might something similar work for your faucet problem?

Matt

David Weaver
11-10-2014, 11:03 AM
Can it be chiseled? I had a mineral buildup that got in the way on a shower selector over a 55 year period, and I noticed that if it was wet, it was a bit softer and I eventually had to chisel it off to get at the nut to replace the selector component.

If the buildup is hidden, that won't be much help.

I also have found, and proceed with caution, that busting mineral scale loose when it's holding something is done well with moderate taps with a metal hammer on a metal wrench. So long as the mineral scale that is otherwise hard to loosen by hand can be fractured by minor jolts, and is the weakest link.

No wailing, just moderate tapping and observation of what's going on (to prevent just busting something off).

Brian Elfert
11-10-2014, 11:37 AM
Does she have a water softener to remove the minerals before they build up in the lines? It won't help the outside lines as they normally don't go through a softener due to the volume of water typically used. Sorry, this doesn't help with removing the faucet.

Todd Willhoit
11-10-2014, 12:41 PM
Brian,

I have placed vinegar in a plastic bag and used a rubber band to hold the bag over a shower head for cleaning. Might something similar work for your faucet problem?

Matt

+1. I have used this method several times, but sometimes it is difficult to get a good seal with the rubber band, or the working space isn't sufficient. Another method is to soak an old rag in vinegar and wrap it around the fixture, hose bib, or shower head. Put a bag/rubber band around the rag if the vinegar evaporates too quickly. The rag also works well when placed over the mineral build up on a tub or sink drain.

Kent A Bathurst
11-10-2014, 3:00 PM
The faucet bib in the backyard is our next challenge. No amount of WD-40 soak has helped and we had tried some pretty big wrenches. It is up against the house so I can't just cut it off and start over.

Don't get this - I don't know the layout of the house, of course, but I have gone into the basement on a couple houses, and just hacked away the plumbing leading to the hose bibb supply, and yanked that sucker out - and rebuild from inside out - with a much deeper valved mechanism to prevent freeze-up.

Jim Koepke
11-10-2014, 3:28 PM
rebuild from inside out - with a much deeper valved mechanism to prevent freeze-up.

It isn't likely he is worried about that kind of freeze in Escondido, CA. Current temps appear to be in the 70s. Life is tough in sunny California.

Brian, have you made sure there isn't copper plumbing in the house? This could be a soldered on faucet.

Have you tried turning off the water and disassembling the valve?

Is there access to the inside or under the house?

jtk

Brian Kent
11-11-2014, 7:48 PM
No problem with temperatures. There is some copper plumbing but this particular faucet is screwed on I have replaced it years ago. I have disassembled what I could to no avail. Next time I am over there I'll try the rag soak method with either vinegar or CLR.

There is a crawl space, but I really hate trying to work in it.