Ours just froze for the first time in years since we have not had 2 degree weather here in years!! Hubby went and got electric heat tape to wrap the pipe in. He said the new kind he found at the hardware store is WAY better than the old wrap around kind...this is a strip you get the right length (not a wrap around thing) that you then wrap with insulation. He said it worked like a charm in no time!
This am we started with the hairdryer (wasn't getting anywhere quickly), moved to a heat torch I had for paint stripping (better /still a lot of work) and hubby finally decided to go to the hardware stor for the heat tape (best!). He DID have to go to 3 hardware stores to get it though.....apparently everyone has frozen pipes and the first 2 were out!
Well, we got it to work, hope it will last cause its been a PITA to use forever. Its a Campbell, the 3rd or 4th to be installed, with a hugh amount of big rocks and big gravel in the drain area. Often the black rubber at the bottom of the plunger gets messed up. I'll never use Campbell again. I left the heating pad on it on low for a few hours. I killed my hair dryer on it too. The brass rod must have been too cold to move, I don't know why. So the handle moved up, but didn't move the rod. When I came back from buying a new hair dryer, Mr. BOD tightened the two nuts a bit and then it seemed to work. I WD40'd it too. I was worried it was froze where the water drains at the black rubber thing, but its only been frigid two days. The other frost free that runs from the house has had a leak somewhere near a joint. Since I procrastinated getting it fixed, its froze solid now, so we fill the other tubs from the basement. All the hoses are in the basement now too.
There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.
If it's frost free and still freezing, it's likely not draining properly, maybe dig it up in the spring?
I've seen people use heat tape. I've also seen a drop light (basically a caged light bulb) hung on the handle and a trash can put upside down over the whole thing. The latter probably wouldn't work if yours is already frozen though.
Both of ours are on the outside of the barn. The pipe parts are wrapped with that sheet-style insulation, that we cut to size and held on with duct tape.
Mr. WTW got his hands on two pizza delivery warmer bags. They go over the spigots and then a 20 gallon muck tub goes over that.
So far so good. We do disconnect the hose after every use and drain it, that way it's not froze to the spigot.
That all being said, three years ago we had to dig up the one unit we use the most. The installers did a crappy job installing the original and it only lasted two years. We bought a new unit, Mr. WTW re-dug the hole, put some drainage gravel down in there like there should have been in the first place, and things have been holding up so far.
All that being said, we have only been a little below zero for a few days. What works in Middle Tennessee probably would be a joke in Minnesota
Mine don't like working in this sub zero cold either.
I have electricity near both, and do as some of you do...put a light on it. I have one light that I would never leave unattended as it throws off a lot of heat.
Once the heat is on it, it works like its summertime.
I really don't think people understand that although a frost free hydrant, there is moisture that is in there and makes the handle very difficult to lift and when you live somewhere that is below zero temps for days, well, I guess you have to live here to understand some things, like vehicles as well, just don't like moving. Hmmm, sounds like how I feel, but I don't think the horses would understand.
Its 15 degrees right now, and feels like a heat wave