Hey everyone, welcome to this week’s episode of “How NOT to Call the Plumber!”.
It looks like we’re in our first heat wave of the season, which will bring lots of garden watering, kiddie pool filling, and sprinkler jumping. Now, I’m willing to bet you didn’t know that hose bibs and outdoor water could be an interesting subject – but my aim to day is to prove otherwise!
Today, we’re going to look at 4 different types of hose bibs you can install and how to decide which one is best for you!
Frost Free Hose Bibs
You may have heard about these, as they are the “hip” thing in the plumbing world (along with tankless water heaters). These fancy valves come in many different lengths, from 6”-20”, and which size you need will vary depending on the thickness of the wall they are installed in. The idea behind this style is that when the valve is closed, the water is actually stopped on the “warm” side of the house (inside the foundation or other wall). This, in theory, is why you don’t need to worry about them in the winter, hence the name “frost free”. Where we run into trouble with these is when they are installed incorrectly. For a frost free hose bib to work as designed, it needs to be slightly sloped towards the outside of the house - this allows any water that is in the body of the valve to drain after the water is shut. What we often see is that a homeowner has had one installed in place of a “standard” hose bib, using the existing hole. If that hole is sloped towards the inside rather than outside, we will be getting a call the following spring for a burst valve and subsequent flooded basement. Also, you absolutely need to make sure to remove the hose when the weather is cooler to allow them to drain.
Standard Hose Bibs
As the name suggests, these hose bibs are indeed, standard. This is the type of hose bib that you should be shutting and draining in the winter to avoid freezing (see earlier posts on how to do this!). In many situations, this type of hose bib is actually best (and what I have installed in my own home). I know, I know, those fancy frost free hose bibs all your friends all have are “soooo much easier”, but don’t fall for the hype! These standard valves can be replaced or repaired without much hassle – and they work just fine.
Tamper-Proof Hose Bib
Live on a busy street? Have annoying neighbours? Want a hose at the front of your house, but don’t want random strangers to come in the middle of the night and use it to fill up multiple buckets of water? (Yes, I’ve heard it all). A tamper-proof hose bib is for you! Working in much the same way as any other valve, the only difference is the handle. These valves use a specialized key to open and close the water, rather than a “knob” style handle. You will traditionally see these used on the outside of commercial buildings, but can be installed in any type of situation!
Hot/Cold Hose Bibs
This definitely isn’t something I grew up with, but I wish I did. These valves work in the same way as a traditional frost free hose bib, but with an added bonus – hot water!
When installing these, we connect to both the hot and cold water systems in your home. This allows you to control the temperature of the water outside of the house, the same way you would with any faucet inside your house. Want to have a nice warm kiddie pool, rather than the ice cold ones we grew up with? No problem. Want to wash the car with hot water? No problem. These valves allow you to do it all – even spoil the kids 😉.
That’s it for this week! I hope you learned something today! Stay cool this weekend and we’ll see you next time.