Our toilet started to “ghost flush” indicating a very small leak from the tank to the bowl.  Every 15 minutes we would hear this sound of the tank filling.  This started about a month ago.  I started to replace the easier parts used in the flushing process starting with the flapper.  No luck, the ghostly activities continued.  Next was the float “thingy”, again, no luck.  All that was left was the tank to basin connection.  It was decided to replace the turn-off valve, at the wall, as well.  That would require turning off the water and draining the entire house system, as, there was no turn-off to isolate the toilet water supply.  If the system was drained why not replace those two, outdated, exterior faucets with new frost-free anti-siphon sill-cocks?  A recent estimate, from a plumber, ran into the hundreds.  And that is how a day full of challenge is created.  The day of challenge happened yesterday.

The day started with getting a flu shot.  Then home to drain the house of all water.  We had put up many pails of water to cover the duration of the repairs.  The toilet was first to be repaired, then the toilet turn-off was removed and bagged for a trip to Menards to make sure I brought back the correct part.

Then, on to the exterior water faucets.  With a really nifty tubing cutter, I severed the inside pipe leading to each exterior faucet leaving enough tube for attaching/soldering the new part.







Both were in really tight areas.   Removing the severed faucets allowed me to determine the proper length of the replacement frost-free anti-siphon sill-cocks, and what copper fittings I will need to complete the replacement.  Off to the store, actually three stores to get everything needed.

It is a long standing tradition, in our home, that I get a new tool for every project of this nature that will make the work go easier.  This time I picked up a Bernzomatic TS4000 trigger start torch.  WOW, what a fine tool!

Back from the material gathering journey, I prepared each new frost-free sill-cock for final assembly and soldering.  Each copper fitting was test fitted and fluxed in preparation for soldering.  Each sill-cock was put into place and the soldering commenced.  You only get one chance to get each joint perfectly sealed with molten solder.  Anything less will result in a leak.  The new torch made the soldering so much easier because of its trigger on-off control.  My old propane torch had to be lit and then brought to the joint, threatening to burn everything along the way.  The trigger allowed the torch to be in position before the flame was started.  Sooooooo nice.

The toilets new water shut-off valve was installed and reconnected to the toilet.  The toilet is no longer “ghost flushing”.  The final test of the soldered connections for the new exterior sill-cocks was put off till the next day, as it was now late, and I didn’t want to have a sleepless night over a leaking connection.

The test was successful.  No leaks.  The cost of this project was much less than the plumbers estimate.  This is my story and I am sticking to it.  Pictures below are of the new sill-cocks in their tight spaces, and of the obsolete sill-cocks.


Sweating in SC

It’s always satisfying to get projects like these completed. Sweating copper fittings in tight places ain’t fun, but the new torch looks like it makes the process a bit less precarious. It sure feels good when you turn the water back on and there’s no leaks - but I’m always compelled to check back several times over the next day or two just to make sure! I wonder if Wisconsin code allows the use of Sharkbite fittings? I’ve used some here in SC and they work great - no sweating needed. Plumbers claim they’re less troublesome than sweat fittings.

Gosh, if I lived closer we could definitely discuss this over a cup of coffee!


Sharkbite I haven't heard of, but PEX is big here too. One still has to terminate copper with a soldered on PEX fitting. And PEX requires crimping tools and bands. I do plan on using pex to install one more sill-cock to give us complete access to water around the house.

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