Repairing A Frozen Water Pipe On The Winter Homestead

Every winter it happens–we discover a frozen water pipe.  It’s just a fact of life here.  This isn’t the first time we’ve repaired a frozen water pipe, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

If we hadn’t repaired this pipe as soon as we noticed it was broken, it could have warmed up and made one huge muddy mess once the ice inside it melted and the water started spewing out.

Luckily, repairing this frozen pipe was easily done with tools we had on hand.

In order to fix this frozen pipe, we needed:

  • Pipe wrenches
  • Pipe threader
  • Lubricant
  • Hacksaw
  • Torch (sometimes needed)

Fixing a frozen water pipe out in the corral.

Discovering A Frozen Water Pipe

If we hadn’t been out there to look at the faucet, we wouldn’t have known it was broken until the weather warmed up.  At that point, the water would have been shooting out of it.

Since we were out there checking on the cows, it was obvious by looking at the faucet that it was broken, due to the angle it was attached to the pipe.

Repairing A Frozen Water Pipe

Since the water inside the pipe was still frozen when we found it, there was no need to turn off a water source, but we knew we’d have to fix it before it thawed out.

After gathering our supplies, we started by finishing the removal of the hose bib (spigot/valve).  The ice had caused the threads of the pipe to break, but had not completely separated the hose bib from the pipe.  We did this by pulling off the loose part by hand.

Fixing a frozen water pipe out in the corral.

Next, we needed to square the end of the pipe.  We accomplished this by using a hacksaw.  We trimmed the unusable portion of pipe at a 90° angle (to the pipe).

Fixing a frozen water pipe out in the corral.

Now we were ready to re-thread the top of the pipe where the hose bib would be reattached.  While firmly holding the pipe with a pipe wrench (to keep it from turning), we used an appropriate sized pipe-threader.  By turning it counterclockwise, we cut new threads into the old pipe down to a usable level.

When using a manual threader, it is very beneficial to reverse the threader often while turning it.  Once your threads are long enough, simply reverse the threader and remove it.  Also, be sure to use plenty of oil (or cutting fluid) when cutting threads.

We were able to easily pull out the broken threads from our hose bib, so we used the same one to put back on.  In the past, removing the broken piece from the hose bib has been a bit more laborious, so we were lucky this time around.  To reattach the hose bib, one pipe wrench was used to hold the pipe and the other pipe wrench was used to tighten the hose bib.

Generally, thread sealer or Teflon tape is used around the threads to prevent leaks from occurring at the connection site.

Fixing a frozen water pipe out in the corral.

Since this spigot isn’t being used right now, we weren’t worried about thawing the pipe at the moment.  It will eventually thaw on it’s own and start flowing again.


1 Comment

  1. I am fascinated with the insight here in this post. Thank you for sharing.

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