Every once in a while, you will need to water your lawn, garden, or clean your car. You can carry buckets of water from your house to the outdoors, but it’s going to be hectic. This is where an outdoor hose bib comes in handy. Here, we describe what a water bib is, what job it does, and how you can protect yours from the freezing winter cold.
What is a Water Bib?
An outdoor hose bib is a faucet attached to the exterior wall of your house to supply water for outdoor use. In many homes, it’s installed near the foundation, just above the sill board. You can have one on the front side and another at the back of your house.
A typical hose bib comprises a body, handle, stem, and spout. Each of these parts has a unique role in ensuring that water flows freely to the front or back yards without causing any damage. This gadget costs about $50. Proper installation is key in ensuring you do not experience leaks.
The hose bib is usually plugged in to the main plumbing system and often near walls. It’s important for it to stay lower than the main water supply to ensure water drains completely from the faucet when it’s turned off. This prevents the pipe from freezing and stops backflows from the garden, which might contaminate the water inside your house.
Sillcock, hydrant, hose faucet, outdoor tap, exterior faucet, hose valve, or spigot are all terms that are synonymous with the water bib.
Ways to Protect Your Bib
Winter won’t be so kind to your bib. The freezing cold might cause it to leak. Here are five things you can do to ensure your bib lasts through the winter.
1. Install a frost-free bib
Traditional hose bibs are great and easy to use. However, they are not suitable for winter chills. Frost-free hose bibs are typically longer than a traditional hose and offer protection against frozen water. The extra length helps accommodate the extra water in the faucet once it freezes.
2. Disconnect the garden hose from the faucet
While turning off the shut-off valve cuts the flow of water to the hose bib, any attached hose will always retain some water. You need to detach the pipe. Otherwise, the water that’s inside will freeze and rupture the pipe. Make sure you disconnect the hose during winter, at night, or when traveling to avoid damage.
3. Keep it warm
Because hose bibs are installed on the exterior of your home, they are exposed to cold weather in winter, which might cause their valve to freeze. A frost-free bib is usually installed inside the house, with the shut-off valve being placed in a heated corner.
If your hydrant is outside, don’t connect it to the hose when temperatures are below 20°F. Also, if your valve is indoors, keep the temperatures above 55°F. If you won’t be around for a couple of days, make sure you disconnect your hose completely and maintain the same indoor temperatures day and night.
Residents of Virginia Beach, VA, have found a useful method to keep their hose bibs warm during winter. They insulate their pipes by wrapping them with a heating cable, so you can also try this method.
4. Inspect it regularly for cracks
A leak can damage the walls of your house, foundation, or basement. If electrical cables run near a leaking hose valve, the damage could even be disastrous. Frozen water expands and exerts pressure on the hose bib. This can cause the copper or plastic piping on your hose bib to crack and begin to leak.
On top of that, hydrants leak when the shut valve has not been properly turned off or if the system is faulty. Regular inspections will uncover problems that may damage your property.
5. Add-ons to release the pressure of winter
Modern hose bibs come with self-resetting functionality that helps relieve pressure on the valve in case it freezes. This prevents rupturing. Another way to protect your pipe is to install a vacuum breaker on your system. What this does is prevent water backflows. In turn, this reduces the chance of water contamination.
Your hose bib’s condition may seem inconsequential until the weather takes a turn for the worse. If you don’t take good care of it in winter and spring, you might experience basement flooding and other problems. The plumbers at A1 Sewer & Drain can help with various aspects of the bib from installation to maintenance. Schedule an inspection and quote with us to get started.