Avoid a Broken Hose Bibb

February 14, 2020by Patrick Schaible0

You’ve probably heard a ton of horror stories about water pipes freezing during the winter when property owners do not know how to avoid a broken hose bibb. When the temperature dips below freezing, any unprotected water pipes are susceptible to freezing – especially those leading to the hose bibb. Water expands when it freezes and can exert up to 2,000 pounds per square inch in pressure. With nowhere to go, the water will burst the pipe, leading to costly repairs.

How to Avoid a Broken Hose Bibb

What is a Hose Bibb?

Also known as a sillcock, a hose bibb is a tap that brings water into your home. You may find one outside of your back door, front door, garage, or other location. Many properties have more than one; be sure to address both locations. How can you tell? Examine the threading on the spout, as it is for the attachment of an appliance like a washing machine or garden hose. A hose bibb may also found on rainwater barrels used in many suburban gardens for providing a source of fresh, clean water for the winter months.

How Broken Hose Bibbs Happen

Most water pipes located inside the property are safe from freezing during the winter months because interior rooms are heated and insulated. However, the water pipes located in external walls, crawl spaces, and other unprotected areas are susceptible to damage. In the winter, freezing temperatures can cause the water in these pipes to freeze. If you’ve ever left a can of soda in the freezer, you know what happens next. The water expands and bursts the pipes. These pipes may then allow moisture to leak into the property and cause further damage (worse if the temperature rises and the water again flows through a now-broken pipe. Additionally, your property may lose all water service until the issue gets resolved.

How to Avoid a Broken Hose Bibb

In the winter, we recommend all property owners in colder climates turn off the water to their hose bibbs. Shutting down the flow will help to prevent damage and flooding when the weather drops below freezing, as shown above. Unfortunately, too many homeowners choose not to do this. When the weather warms up that broken bibb may result in leaking and flooding.

Luckily, turning off a hose bibb is quite easy- turn the hose valve to the off position, usually done by turning it clockwise until you can’t anymore. You should also open up the outside faucet to bleed out all remaining water left inside after you shut off the valve. A typical hose bibb generally has the water pipes leading to it under constant pressure. This pressure is dependent on a variety of factors, including the utility supplier, size of the pipe, water demand, to mention the most common.

As water is still located in the home, between the bibb and the outlets such as faucets, showers, etc., there is still more to do Water in pipes located next to an exterior wall is also in danger of freezing in extreme temperatures. To avoid this, turn on the water from sources located in all the home to bleed it all out. Do this after you turn off the exterior hose bibb. This action will ensure there is no water in your pipes to be frozen. You may turn on the water again in the morning and resume normal usage.

New Alternative for Broken Hose Bibbs

Don’t feel like going outside each night and morning in the cold to turn the water on and off? There is an alternative. A new “gadget” called a frost-free faucet can also be very helpful. It is also called a sillcock and reduces the need to turn off hose bibbs in temperate areas. Frost-free faucets are hose bibbs designed with a longer rear connection. Preconfigured to the valve body, this design positions the internal shutoff valve inside the walls of the house, relocating it where it’s warmer and less likely to freeze. When you turn off a frost-free faucet, the remaining water in the pipe up to the valve drains out, leaving no water to freeze.

However, these faucets are not full proof. They merely provide an extra layer of protection from freezing but can still fail in extreme temperatures.

Sillcocks can be damaged by frost and the cold. Before cold weather comes, be sure to take the basic precautions to protect sillcocks from freezing (or you may be in for repair!).

Schaible’s Will Fix Broken Hose Bibbs

We can professionally install and inspect frost-free faucets, as well as repair broken hose bibbs. Our service areas include all of northern and central New Jersey as well as Eastern PA – including Hunterdon County, Warren County, Somerset County, and Morris County. Contact us today to get a free, no-obligation quote on optimizing your hose bibb.

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