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Hose bib leaking is not such an uncommon occurrence. But not fixing it at the earliest can lead to serious troubles down the line. Not to forget, a lot of frustration.
This blog will help you learn the ins and outs of a hose bib, the likely causes of a hose bib leak, ways to fix the hose bib leaking, and some really helpful maintenance tips. So, let’s begin our home improvement journey right away!
What is a hose bib?
A hose bib aka spigot is basically a special kind of faucet that has a threaded spout. You can connect it to a garden hose, a washing machine, or any other device. This outdoor faucet connects directly to your home’s plumbing system and hence needs to be in top shape to keep your home clean and dry.
Having a hose bib leaking isn’t just wasteful and can cause your water bill to increase, it may even damage your home’s foundation. Moreover, it can lead to mold growth – something that can be detrimental to your health as well as your home’s health.
Signs of a leaky hose bib to watch out for
If your water bill seems too high, it’s a red flag. You clearly have a wasteful leak somewhere. Start by ensuring that all water sources such as home appliances, faucets, and toilets are off and not leaking. Locate the water meter and see if the little red triangle is still moving. If it is, there’s definitely a leak within your plumbing system.
Some obvious signs of an outdoor leak include:
Water puddles around your foundation
Damp soil, perpetual area wet, or puddles of water around your foundation indicate a leaking hose bib.
Mold and mildew
If you spot mold and mildew around your home’s foundation, you have a leaky faucet that’s creating a moist, humid environment.
If you see water dripping into tiny cracks and crevices in your foundation. The excess moisture can weaken the foundation and cause major damage to your basement.
What are the causes of a leaky hose bib?
Generally, the culprit of a hose bib leaking problem is wear and tear or a frozen faucet.
Once you troubleshoot the source of the problem, you can address it and prevent it in the future.
Some of the most common causes of a leaking hose bib include the following.
Frozen hose bib
Undrained water within your pipe can freeze and burst when temperatures drop below freezing. Such a water pipe problem generally remains hidden until the subsequent spring season. Keep in mind that a frozen pipe can change the water pressure and cause water damage in and outside your home.
General wear and tear eventually show in a faucet’s appearance and performance. Moreover, the mineral deposits buildup and cracks can over time cause leaks.
The valve stem inside an outdoor faucet holds a small rubber packing washer. As the washer wears out due to excessive use, heat, cold, or age, it can cause a leak.
Loose packing nut
The packing nut, located behind the faucet handle, may come loose over time – causing a continuous leak.
How to fix a leaky hose bib?
Fortunately, a hose bib repair is simple enough and can be a DIY project.
Most outdoor faucets rely on a compression system, unlike indoor faucets that use cartridges with openings. As you shut off your garden hose bib by turning the handle, a threaded stem pushes a rubber washer down to stop the water flow by forming a seal against the valve seat.
A worn-down, warped, or broken washer will let the water through. You’ll need to replace it by disassembling your spigot.
Step-by-step method of replacing a damaged washer and fixing the spigot
Essential tools required:
- Channellock or tongue-and-groove pliers or an adjustable wrench
- Faucet washers
- Graphite or Teflon packing string
Turn off the water supply
Shut off your water supply by turning the handle of the valve all the way to the right. The shutoff valve is usually located near the spout, in a basement, or near a crawl space.
Keep your spigot open
Open your spigot open for some time – allowing any built-up water pressure to dissipate.
Remove the handle
Use pliers around the packing nut or the bonnet nut and twist counterclockwise. Remove the faucet handle.
Unscrew the packing nut and valve stem
You’ll spot a screw that attaches the washer to the threaded stem. Unscrew it to detach the washer from the stem.
Change the stem washer and replace the packing string
Place the new washer in the washer groove. Secure it with screws.
Remove the old packing string from under the bonnet nut and tie layers of new string – wrapping clockwise.
Reassemble the faucet
Put the faucet back together by twisting the stem back. Tighten the packing nut with pliers and reattach the handle.
Check your faucet
Turn the water on to ensure that there are no water leaks around the packing nut. If there is some dripping, tighten it with your pliers.
If you’re still not able to stop the leak, it’s best to call a professional plumber. A plumber typically charges between $45 and $200 an hour.
Hose maintenance tips
You need to protect your outdoor faucets from any kind of damage or leaks in the future. Simply follow a few measures to ensure your faucet’s health.
- Conduct regular inspections for any leaks or drips in your hose as well as the foundation and walls.
- Repair any damage before cold weather sets in.
- Disconnect and drain the hoses to prevent freezing.
- Drain the pipe leading to the faucet system.
- Insulate your outdoor faucet using a faucet cover. You may consider installing some insulation inside the faucet cover for extra protection or installing a frost-free hose bib.
- Winterize your outdoor plumbing for a carefree winter.
- Consider adding hydraulic hoses like the parker hose for better performance.
Fixing a leaking hose bib on time will save you from a lot of headaches and water wastage. A leaking hose bib can lead to exterior as well as interior water damage. Most importantly, it can create damp patches of soil around the foundation of your house – something that needs to be checked at the earliest. If you have a hose bib leaking, this step-by-step guide will help you fix leaking hose bib before it does more damage.