Soak Up Knowledge About Your Hose Bib

We’ve waited long enough to enjoy the summer weather outside our homes. For many activities – from playing in sprinklers to gardening – you will need access to water. This is where the hose bib becomes one of your summer BFFs. 

Soak Up Knowledge About Your Hose Bib

In this article, we’re talking about hose bibs – what makes them different than inside faucets and potential problems to look out for. 

What is a hose bib?

A hose bib is a type of water faucet that is found on the exterior of your home. Most commonly, this is where you attach a hose to water the lawn, wash the car, fill the pool, or a variety of other uses.

What makes things confusing is there are many alternate names for a hose bib, including spigot, hose valve, outdoor water faucet, sillcock, and more. No matter what you call it, odds are that you use it more frequently in the summer.

Parts of a hose bib

Because of the outdoor elements, a hose bib is built differently than other water faucets you’d find indoors.

  • Stem – This is the pipe that connects the hose bib to the internal plumbing system. We usually recommend frost-free hose bibs because they have long stems that provide a buffer between water and cold temperatures in the winter, which can prevent freezing and pipes from bursting.
  • Body – The body is made up of the pipe and spout that are mounted to the exterior of the home. The end of the spout will typically be threaded so that a standard garden hose can be twisted on. 
  • Handle – Like most faucets, a hose bib has a handle that you turn to open and close the valve that allows water to flow through the spout. 
  • Vacuum breaker – This is a safety device that prevents water from flowing backward from the hose into the hose bib and entering the home’s water supply. If your hose bib has a vacuum breaker, it is typically attached to the body near the spout.

Common issues of hose bibs

A quality hose bib should last a long time. However, there are a few important issues to watch out for to prevent water damage and higher water bills.

  • Water leaking from the body or handle – Inside the hose bib are small rubber or neoprene parts that create a water-tight seal when the faucet is turned off. However, over time these materials can wear down or become corroded, which can allow water to trickle through. You may be able to replace the washer or other parts, or it might make more sense to replace the entire hose bib.
  • Cracked stem – If you turn the hose bib on for the first time in the season, and you hear or see water leaking inside the home, there’s a good chance that you could have a broken stem. This often happens when water inside the stem freezes, expands, and forces a crack in the pipe. Another reason this could happen (even if you have a frost-free hose bib) is if you forgot to remove the hose from the faucet over the winter, which traps water where it can freeze and damage the pipes. Even if this happened months ago, you may not find out until now. In this case, you will need the hose bib replaced – and you should avoid using the old one or you may end up with a very wet mess inside your home.

Hose bib installation in Raleigh, Durham, and the Triangle

Summer wouldn’t be the same without convenient access to water. So if you’re experiencing an issue with your hose bib, bring in the pros at One Call Plumbing. We can inspect your hose bib and then recommend the best repair or replacement solution. To schedule an appointment, call us at (919) 925-2006.