Plumbing is one of those household aspects, along with cleaning the gutters, that gets the ‘’out of sight, out of mind’’ treatment. But like most things, if neglected and not properly maintained, things can turn sour for everybody involved.
One thing that all serious homeowners should pay attention to is the hose bibb. A hose bibb (also called an exterior faucet or a wall hydrant) is a threaded faucet usually located on the exterior wall of the residence. Amongst the reasons why you should pay attention to the hose bibb, especially since there are only a few months left until winter kicks in, is because a damaged bibb can leak, overburdening your water bill. Here is all you need to know about hose bibbs.
Types of Hose Bibbs
Generally speaking, there are two broad types of hose bibbs for exterior use:
- Standard hose bibbs. With this type of hose bibb, the water line extends all the way to the exterior wall, with the bibb itself being attached at the end of the pipe.
- The second type is called a frost proof bibb. As you have probably guessed from the name, this type of bibb is useful in areas when the temperatures drop below the freezing point on a regular basis. It features a long stem, and it extends into the heated space. They come in standardized 8, 10, 12, 14 and 18-inch sizes, although the lengths may vary depending on the store or regional versions. Another aspect that separates the hose bibb from a standard one is the fact that it has an anti-siphon device, which prevents water from being drawn back into the potable water source.
These two types of hose bibbs are, in turn, split into various variants. Here are some of the most common variants of hose bibbs:
- Keyed Hose Bibbs
- Prier Hose Bibbs
- Nibco Hose Bibbs
- Watts Hose Bibbs
- Acorn Hose Bibbs
- Arrowhead hose bibbs
When it comes to materials, there are four versions you could be dealing with:
- Plastic Hose Bibbs – the cheapest and weakest, not recommended in harsh climates
- Brass Hose Bibbs
- Stainless steel hose bibbs – sturdy and durable, but they tend to rust if not properly maintained
- Chrome Hose Bibbs – the midway between stainless steel and plastic hose bibbs
Why You Should Pay Attention to the Hose Bibb
Since fall is here and temperatures will drop sooner rather than later, homeowners should focus on maintaining the plumbing system in general, and hose bibbs in particular. The main reason is because water tends to sit inside the pipes leading to the hose bibbs. Come winter, if the pipes are not properly insulated, the water might freeze, causing the pipes to burst. This could lead to some pretty nasty accidents, with leaking being the least of your worries. Once the ice melts, you could be dealing with all kinds of issues, from flooding to damages that could affect the structural integrity of the house.
Hose Bibb Repair and Maintenance
If you are wondering how to replace a hose bibb or what you could possibly do in case something bad happens, you will be glad to find out that it is simpler than one might think. As long as you follow these simple steps, you should be able to fix your hose bibb with no issues whatsoever. Before doing any sort of work on your hose bibb, make sure to turn off the water supply.
- Locate the connection point. Finding the connection point is simple as long as you have a basic knowledge of your house layout. Using the exterior hose bibb as a starting point, go into the basement and determine roughly in which spot it ties in inside the house.
- The next step involves determining the type of connection. There are three broad connection variants:
- Sweat Solder connection, a hard connection which that slides over the water pipe.
- Male Iron pipe, a type of connection which features exposed sillcock ends
- Female Iron Pipe, which is the reverse of the MIP, meaning the threads are on the inside.
- Determine the length of the hose bibb (go back to the first entry for more information).
- Choose a connection type. Most hose bibbs are compatible with MIP or FIP connections. You can determine which type you should use by checking whether the threads are exposed or on the inside.
- Turn on the water supply and make sure air is not exiting the faucets.
This concludes our article about hose bibbs. Similar to your interior faucets and other fixtures, hose bibbs need an appropriate degree of care and attention to prevent any unpleasant accidents from occurring. Fortunately, you do not need to call a plumber to fix or replace the hose bibb, as everybody can accomplish this task with a little guidance.
September 6, 2018