Plumbing leaks can be elusive and often remain undetected until they cause damage. While it’s important to check for leaks inside the home, homeowners shouldn’t neglect to check outdoor faucets as well. Read on to learn more about your outdoor hose bib, how to check for leaks and what to do if you find one.
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What is a Hose Bibb?
A hose bib, also commonly referred to as an outdoor faucet, is a fixture on the outside of your home where you can attach a hose pipe. This convenient valve makes doing yard work easy, with quick access enabling you to water plants, hose down the driveway or give your car a good rinse.
The most common type of valve used inside of a hose bib is a compression type valve. When you turn the handle on your outdoor faucet, it screws the spindle into or out of the valve seat, thus allowing or stopping water flow. While this system does its job effectively, its components can wear down over time, leading to water leaks that can cost homeowners and waste significant amounts of water over time.
The valve that governs water flow in your hose bib has two washers, a stem washer and a packing washer. The stem washer sits at the bottom of the spindle and closes down into the valve seat, which stems water flow. The packing washer sits higher up on the spindle, right underneath the faucet handle. If you notice water leaking right from the handle, you can tighten the packing nut (under the handle) with a small crescent wrench or similar tool.
Leaking Hose Bibb: When to Call a Plumber
If the whole hose bib leaks, even when it’s closed, it’s a sign that the stem washer is bad. This warrants the help of a professional plumber. Since they’re located outside, hose bibs are constantly exposed to the elements. This can make them difficult to take apart without damaging them. This is a delicate fixture, and taking it apart the wrong way can easily break it, in which case the whole fixture would need to be replaced.
Signs Your Hose Bibb is Leaking
Homeowners may have an outdoor hose bib leak on their hands without realizing it. Falling into the out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality, if you don’t visually see your hose bib leaking, it can be difficult to diagnose. Our experts recommend disconnecting your hose pipe after each use, rather than leaving it attached until next time.
This precaution serves two purposes. The first is that it will allow you to see if your hose bib is leaking or dripping. The second is that it will prevent your hose pipe from fusing to your hose bib through a process called galvanic corrosion. When this happens, it can damage the hose bib to the point where the only option is to replace it.
To check for leaks in the plumbing that leads to your outdoor faucet, you can check water pressure by hand. Simply put your thumb (or the palm of your hand) over the spigot and turn on the water. If the water pressure seems weak, it could indicate a hidden leak. Neglecting to fix a leaky hose bib will cause water bills to go up, and it can lead to water damage or soil erosion that puts the structural integrity of your home at risk.
How to Winterize Your Hose Bibb
Since hose bibs are located outdoors, they are exposed to the elements. That means extreme heat in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter. A hose bib filled with water can burst in the winter when water freezes and expands inside. It’s important to winterize outdoor hose bibs to prevent damage and increase their lifespan.
Each outdoor faucet in your home should ideally have an inside valve that controls water flow. Though this is a standard practice, not all outdoor faucets have inside valves. The location of indoor valves can vary by home, but in most cases they are located underneath household sinks.
Check below your kitchen or bathroom sinks to see if you notice a valve coming out of the cold water supply and into the wall or floor. If you do find one, this is likely a hose bib shutoff valve. To winterize your outdoor faucet, simply close this valve, then open the outdoor hose bib to let any water lingering in the pipes flow out.
Hose Bibb Not Working in Your New Home?
If you have an outdoor hose bib or faucet that doesn’t seem to work because no water flows out of it, its corresponding indoor valve might have been shut off by previous homeowners. Checking beneath sinks may reveal the culprit as a closed valve that simply needs to be opened.
Professional Midlothian Plumbing: Dial One Johnson Can Help
If you are unable to locate or repair a hose bib leak in your home, don’t hesitate to call in a pro plumber Midlothian, TX, homeowners trust. The team at Dial One Johnson is fully trained to assess, diagnose and repair plumbing issues with transparent advice and upfront pricing.
Homeowners can enjoy a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our workmanship, and with flexible financing options available, we’ll make sure you get the plumbing repairs you need. Our comprehensive plumbing and HVAC maintenance plans help ensure your home is taken care of year-round with cleanings, inspections and repairs.
Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating provides 5-star plumbing and HVAC services to Midlothian, Cedar Hill, Desoto and the surrounding Dallas metro areas. Our team is proud to offer 24/7 emergency services to help keep your family safe and comfortable right when it matters the most. Give us a call at (972) 362-9801 or visit us online to speak to a team member today.