There are a few areas of your home’s plumbing or related water connections that may see some small impacts or wear-down over the winter period, and some good examples here are outdoor features that are exposed to colder temperatures. One such feature is your outdoor hose and hose bibb, which may experience some leaking or related issues over the winter that you’ll want to address before you get your outdoor water flowing again during the spring and summer.
At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re proud to offer assistance with numerous plumbing maintenance areas, including several transitional themes for moving from winter to summer (and vice versa later in the year). What exactly is a hose bibb, what role does it play on your outdoor hoses, and how can you both inspect this item for damage and remedy any minor issues that have taken place over the Salt Lake City winter? Here are some basics.
Hose Bibb Basics
First of all, for new homeowners or anyone who hasn’t dealt with this area in the past, let’s go over the basics on the hose bibb. This is the name for the small faucet attachment on the outer wall of your home, the one that allows you to connect a hose and receive water you can use outside.
The hose bibb attaches directly to a garden hose or other hose types. Some homes have more than one hose bibb, such as setups where there will be a separate bibb for the front of the home and the back of the home. There are also several materials hose bibbs may be made from depending on when they were manufactured, and this might also play a role in their long-term quality and the maintenance required for them.
Winter and Bibb Risks
And because hose bibbs, unlike many other water or plumbing components, stay outside throughout the year and are not protected from the cold winter temperatures we see in Utah, they may be exposed to some risks. Specifically, certain hose bibb models may crack as a result of cold weather – and if you don’t spot this issue quickly enough, water may leak from the outdoor faucet and result in significant water damage, mold growth or even foundation issues.
In addition, frozen water may cause issues here. While you should have taken the time to empty your hose and bibb area of any standing water back in the fall before winter got going, you may have missed some water here or forgotten this step – and frozen water may actually be the issue causing cracking or other hose bibb concerns.
Luckily, our next few sections will go over some basics for turning on your water in the spring and testing your hose bibb for quality, plus what to do if you discover issues here.
Water Turn-On Steps
When you go to turn on your outdoor water for the spring or summer, here are the basic steps to follow to determine whether your hose bibb was damaged or whether it remains in good condition:
- Place your thumb over the spigot of the hose bibb, or perhaps your entire hand if you have small fingers.
- Turn the water on using the hose bibb.
- If a single thumb or finger allows you to hold the water in without much trouble, this is usually a sign that there’s a crack somewhere in the piping of the hose bibb, causing water to leak out and reducing the pressure that hits your finger.
- If, on the other hand, you feel significant pressure and can’t hold the water back with just a single finger, this is a sign that your pressure is adequate and there are no significant leak issues anywhere in the bibb.
If the above test indicates that you have a hose bibb issue taking place, we recommend calling our team of plumbers – both to confirm the issue and to help remedy it. Our team will get down to the specific details of the issue, as there are several different components that may be involved in the leak and we want to pinpoint the culprit before we get to work.
In some cases, we may repair a specific component within the bibb, or the pipes leading to it. In others, damage will be significant enough to major components that the entire setup will need to be replaced. Repairs usually cost less up-front, but there are cases where leaving worn-down components in place will just lead to the same issue again the following year, and we’ll help you avoid that. We’ll only recommend a full-on replacement of the hose bibb if we’ve exhausted all realistic repair options without success.
Water Leak Concerns
Unfortunately, especially if your hose bibb was already worn down from previous seasons and then began leaking this past winter, it’s possible these issues will also impact several surrounding areas. For instance, if your hose bibb begins to leak just a month or two into winter and continues for months, there’s a real chance of water damage taking place to surrounding areas: Your pipes, for one, but also the materials below any leaks, especially the foundation of your home itself if the leaks are in this area.
This is another part of the reason why yearly plumbing maintenance and upkeep are so important, including inspections from our team. Hose bibb leak issues are the kinds of things we’ll spot during these appointments, so instead of you dealing with a high-cost repair project after months of leaking, the issue will be identified ahead of time.
For more on dealing with hose bibb maintenance this spring, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services in Salt Lake City or other parts of Utah, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.