What Is A Hose Bib? Everything You Want To Know

What Is A Hose Bib Everything You Want To Know

What is a hose bib? Let’s discuss hose bibbs. A hose bibb, also referred to as an outdoor faucet or a “sillcock,” is a valve to which you can connect a garden hose. Since the summer is typically when you use that hose the most, it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of how a hose bibb functions, which is what we’ll cover today along with some maintenance advice.

Anatomy Of A Hose Bibb

Let’s start by discussing a hose bibb’s anatomy. Compression valves are the most widely used type, and they work by rotating the handle to screw the stem or spindle into the seat, sealing the opening and stopping the flow of water (see diagram). Although these valves are efficient, they deteriorate over time, just like everything else. The valve has two washers, as can be seen in the illustration: a stem washer and a packing washer. If your hose bibb does begin to drip from the handle, you can usually stop it by simply tightening the packing nut with a small crescent wrench (or another similar tool). 

It’s a sign your stem washer is defective if you notice the entire thing dripping even when it’s closed. Since the hose bibbs are outside and exposed to weather, they are difficult to disassemble and, if done incorrectly, are very easy to break. In some cases, even we run into hose bibbs that are impossible to disassemble, in which case the entire thing should be replaced. In this situation, I can’t suggest anything other than calling a professional.

The Fixture With Many Names

Following are a few of the many names we frequently hear for hose bibs that we have heard over the years:

  • Hose bib (obviously)
  • Frost free hose bib
  • Garden service
  • Lawn service
  • Hose faucet
  • Hose valve
  • Outdoor tap
  • Hose attachment
  • Lawn hydrant
  • Spigot
  • The thing that the hose goes onto (our personal favourite)

But to be fair, how could anyone know what it is called if they had no idea in the first place? Whatever you want to call your hose bib, I’m confident we can quickly come to an understanding.

Standard Hose Bibs In Edmonton

The handle, spout, body, and stem make up the standard hose bib. The lack of a large variety and the fact that Edmonton’s residential hose bibs are largely the same makes life simple for you. The two most typical sizes are ordinarily ½ inch and ¾ inch. The diameter of the pipe is all that this size refers to. How much pressure you require coming from the faucet is the determining factor in which size hose bib is best for you. The pressure will be stronger in a smaller pipe. Your preference is relevant here.

Don’t worry if your hose bib is the incorrect size for your hose or other devices if you’ve already installed it. Buying a size adapter is always an option as opposed to starting over.

The Function Of The Design

What Is A Hose Bib Everything You Want To Know
What Is A Hose Bib? Everything You Want To Know

The purpose of this kind of tap is also indicated by the name, hose bib. In order to prevent freezing or cracking in the exposed area of the tap during the winter, it has been designed to drain itself of water.

However, many homeowners leave their washing machine or garden hose permanently connected to these taps. When the tap cannot drain the extra water, it splits or cracks as it freezes. The hose bib will crack as a result of ice buildup if it is left dripping throughout the winter.

Repairing Cracked Hose Bibs

In addition to the inconvenience if the hose bib cracks, repairs can be very challenging because the piping has been installed in exterior walls, ceilings, or floors and is difficult to access.

Sometimes the split enlarges the hose bib and is so challenging to repair that it might be more sensible to seal it off and put another tap somewhere else on the pipe. A new hose bib can be simply screwed into the piping if the old one is simple to remove.

Common Issues That Could Come Up In The Winter

What transpires if you fail to winterize your hose bib? Despite the possibility of luck, it’s likely that your pipes will develop cracks or leaks. This may occur if you left the hose connected over the winter or if you neglected to drain the hose bib before the arrival of cold weather.

Due to the fact that water expands when it freezes, either the exterior portion of your hose bib will break, or the interior portion between the handle and the valve seat will expand to the point of breaking due to the accumulation of ice inside. The issue might not become apparent until spring if it is the latter. In April, you might find your basement flooded, or you might notice other signs of water damage in your house’s walls or foundation. You’ll have a headache to deal with and it might be expensive, whichever it is. You can enjoy the arrival of spring and the thawing as you should by keeping in mind these easy, quick tips!

What Steps Can I Take To Ensure My Home Is Safe?

Despite the alarming prospect of water freezing into your plumbing and breaking pipes, you won’t need to worry thanks to these additional safety precautions. There are other preventative steps you can take to ensure the plumbing of your home’s hose bib is safe for you and your family all year long, in addition to making sure the outdoor faucet has NO ACCESS TO THE WATER OF YOUR HOME during the winter.

Frost Free Hose Bibs:

What distinguishes a frost-free hose bib from a regular one? One important distinction between the two is that a frost-free hose bib has a stem (the small internal pipe attachment that goes back into the wall) that extends further into your house than a standard one does. This means that the hose bib’s valve portion is located inside your home, where it is warm, and that the portion that extends outside is dry so that it won’t freeze during the chilly winter months. Contrarily, a typical hose bib freezes in the winter and is consequently vulnerable to ice cracking. Even though it happens infrequently, it is extremely unlikely and usually well worth the small investment to relieve yourself of that worry if you have a frost-free hose bib. With the way our winters are here in Edmonton, frost-free is the only option. However, keep in mind that leaving your garden hose on through the winter will damage even frost-free hose bibs.

Vacuum Breaker:

This is typically a fitting that attaches to the hose bib’s outer spout. The hose bib’s spout has what appears to be a cap on it. For the purpose of preventing backflow, the vacuum breaker is employed. Your garden hose should only release water when it is absolutely necessary. It is uncommon, but not impossible, to experience a drop in water pressure from the city supply. There are several potential causes for this, but the most frequent is a fire truck pumper attaching to a nearby hydrant, which can quickly deplete the water pressure. The possibility of backflow exists if this ever occurs to your house. How come backflow is a problem? Since your hose is still outside, you can never be too sure of what may have crawled inside of it. Similar considerations apply to any chemicals you may be using to treat weeds in your garden or on your patio; you wouldn’t want your family or the people in your neighborhood to consume these toxins.

Licensed Plumber:

Never undervalue the value of hiring a qualified professional. There are details in the installation or maintenance process of your hose bib that you might miss, even if you are a knowledgeable DIYer or an ambitious one. Even the most knowledgeable homeowners we encounter occasionally are unaware of how much there is to know about their home’s intricate plumbing, which makes us happy when our clients have some plumbing knowledge and take good care of their pipes. Any work done for you by our certified plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing Edmonton is guaranteed, and so are any parts we use. In what ways does this affect you? You have complete peace of mind knowing that your house is in the capable hands of a qualified expert.


what is a hose bib?

Your hose bib is what makes washing your car simple. It’s what enables you to water your garden and what enables your children to enjoy summertime sprinkler fun. Your hose bib makes it simple and incredibly convenient for you to enjoy the convenience of running water outside of your home. You can be productive outside and enjoy your summers more thanks to this small device attached to your home. So it goes without saying that you want to maintain your hose bibs correctly. You may not have known, though, that your hose bib requires any sort of care. Yes, it does, especially during the winter. Aside from that, did you know that your hose bib has the potential to contaminate the city and home’s drinking water? The importance of understanding how their hose bib functions and what to do to safely maintain it all year round is frequently underestimated by homeowners.

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