Informational Guide

How To Change a Hose Bibb

We run you through the easy steps for replacing or repairing spigots.

by PlumberJohn

A hose bibb (also known as a spigot) is an important outdoor fixture that lets you attach a hose to get water. Every homeowner needs a hose bibb (also spelled "bib") on their exterior, and sometimes it needs to be replaced.

Fortunately, replacing a hose bibb is not an incredibly difficult process and can actually be relatively easy, depending on your specific bibb. We will talk about when you need to replace your bibb and the DIY steps for doing so.

  • Frost-free hose bibb
    This is the most common kind of hose bibb you find on houses. Usually, bibbs are located outside around the side of the house. Frost-free bibbs are designed, so you do not have to turn off the water line during colder months. Alternatively, if you have a non-frost-free bibb, you need to turn the water off during the winter.
  • Round plastic hose bibb
    This kind of bibb is mostly found on water heaters and allows you to drain excess water out of the bottom of the tank by attaching a hose. These kinds of bibbs are really simple but are typically made from plastic and are not suitable for outdoor use.
  • Loose key hose bibb
    A “loose key” bibb allows you to take off the handle of the bibb so it cannot be used. This is a good option if you want to control who has access to your hose if you need to conserve water usage.
  • Knobbed hose bibb
    A knobbed hose bibb is similar to a round plastic bibb in that it is often found on water heaters. The main difference is that knobbed hose bibs are made from metal, and they have a special cinch that needs a wrench to loosen.
bibb

Hose Bibb Common Problems

House bibbs carry water from your home’s water main and so usually have several distinct parts that need to work together. As such, a lot of problems with hose bibbs are from one piece or another failing to work properly. Here are some of the more common hose bibb issues.

Frozen hose bibb

If you have a non-frost-resistant hose bibb, then there is the risk that the bibb will freeze during the winter if you do not turn the water off. Leftover water in the pipes and bibb can freeze over, preventing you from attaching a hose properly.

Frozen water can also expand and cause cracking and fractures in the pipes and bibb rim.

Leaking hose bibb

One of the more common issues is a leaking bib. Typically, this is caused by the shutoff valve not closing entirely. If there is a small opening, water pressure can force a small bit through. Leaking hose bibbs can be an easy or a difficult fix, depending on the underlying cause.

Broken handles

Bibb handles make contact with water and so can rust and break over time. A broken handle means that the bibb can get stuck in the on or off position. Sometimes the bibb gets broken, and other times it is just not tight enough to completely close the shutoff valve.


Signs of a Damaged Hose Bibb

Here are a couple of common symptoms of a damaged hose bibb.

  • There is visible water accumulation near where the bibb is located
  • You can see visible cracks and fractures in the bibb or handle
  • You have difficulty attaching the hose to the bibb
  • The handle either will not turn or water will not come out if you turn it.

How to Inspect?

Most of the time, you can just visually inspect the spigot to find problems. Inspecting your bibb is as simple as making sure it is properly shutting off and allowing water through. Once you turn the water line back on, turn the spigots handle fully on to test the water flow

Then turn it off and look for any leaks in the spigot or on the wall near the hose. If water is coming from the wall, it could mean the bibb is damaged.

You should also make sure that the hose bibb does not leak when turned off. Let the water drain for a few minutes. A damaged bibb will continue leaking water well after it should have emptied. Usually, this is just because a washer is loose. 

water spigot

How to Prevent?

One of the easiest ways to prevent damage to your hose bibb is to ensure that your system is completely drained of water during the cold months. Even frost-free bibbs can freeze if it gets cold enough and there is water still stuck in the line. 

A damaged hose bibb can lead to more severe issues, so you need to deal with any issues that pop up quickly.

Alternatively, the problem might be the location of your bibb. If the pipe is not in an optimal location, you might need to change where the spigot is located on the exterior of your home.


Replacing Hose Bibbs: DIY Easy Steps

Here is a quick DIY guide on how to replace a hose bibb.

Required Tools: Wrench, replacement bibb, graphite, gloves

  1. 1
    Before touching the spigot, make sure you turn off the water flow from the house to the bibb.
  2. 2
    Next, unscrew the bibb handle and start loosening the packing nut with the wrench (or plies)
  3. 3
    Once you have the packing nut off, use the graphite and repack the area. The graphite will ensure that any gaps will be filled, and it will be an airtight seal.
  4. 4
    Next, put the packing nut back on and replace any handles if they are broken.
  5. 5
    Then, turn the water back on from the house and inspect the spigot to see if the leak persists.

Note, if the spigot is soldered onto the pipe instead of screwed on, then you will have to saw off the soldered connection before you can put the new bibb on.


People also Ask (FAQs)

How do you fix a leaky hose bibb?

It depends on what, exactly, is the problem, but you can often fix a leaky hose bibb by merely making sure the washer and seal valve are screwed on tightly.

What is the difference between the hose bibb and spigot

The terms “bibb” and “spigot” are terms for the same mechanism, also called a “faucet.”

How much is the average cost to replace a hose bib?

It usually costs around $100-$150 to completely replace a hose bibb with a new one.

At what temperature will outside faucets freeze?

Water spigots can freeze if exposed to under freezing temperatures (32F/0C) for an extended time.

How do I keep my outdoor faucet from freezing?

The best way to keep your faucet from freezing is to make sure that the pipes are drained of water and shutting off the water line from the house.


Conclusion

Hose bibbs might seem important, but a faulty hose bibb can lead to a lot of issues. So if your hose bibb is leaking or otherwise not working correctly, it’s in your best interest to get it sorted out fast.

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