Are you wondering what to do about your leaky hose bib? Check out this guide and learn how to tell when a leaking hose bib needs to be replaced.
Did you know that summers in St. Louis can get into the 100s? With the heat just around the corner, it’s vital that we keep an eye on our appliances to ensure they’re in working order. On your most recent inspection, you may have noticed a leaking hose bib for your hose.
But what’s causing your leaky hose, and why is it important to fix it? If you’re dealing with a leaking hose, we’re happy to help. Read on to learn more about hose bibs, how to know when they’re failing, and why you should fix it right away!
What Is a Hose Bib?
To begin, what’s a hose bib? If you’re working to diagnose these issues, it’s important that you know your components! Misdiagnosing such a problem can lead to expensive “fixes” that leave the original issue.
A hose bib is a simple outdoor faucet. These are also often called “sillcocks” or simply outdoor faucets.
The most common use for these faucets is to attach a garden hose. You’ve likely used your hose bib while washing your car, watering your lawn or garden, or spraying down your driveway.
You may also have heard this hose bib referred to as a “spigot.” Technically speaking, they’re the same thing, but people use the two words to refer to different hoses. A spigot connects to pipes while a hose bib is used for hoses!
Signs of a Leaking Hose Bib
Now that we better understand what a hose bib is, we can better diagnose any issues with it. Have you noticed a leak to your house bib?
Before you troubleshoot anything else, you should work to see if there’s a simple explanation. For example, turn the faucet as far toward off as you can. There’s a chance the leak is because the faucet was just barely open.
If the leak remains, you likely have some sort of issue internally. But how do you know the difference between a leak and a drip from water remaining in the line? Here are some of the primary signs of a leaking hose bib.
Differing Water Pressure
One of the first ways you may notice your hose problems is with differing water pressure. Plumbing is difficult and intricate and maintaining a proper water pressure is one of those main issues.
If you’re using your hose, you might have noticed water not coming out strong enough. Maybe you’re needing to bring the hose further to get water where it needs to be!
You also may have the opposite where water is coming out significantly faster than necessary. If this is a sudden change, you may have suspicions about damage.
Keep an eye on your hose’s pressure to see if you have a damaged bib. You may not see a leak as your main symptom but a complete lack of water pressure instead! These can signal the same style of damage.
Constant Drips or Leaks
Another surefire sign that there’s something wrong with your hose bib is constant leaks. These leaks can range from severe, constant flows of water to the occasional drip.
If you’re outside, you may notice your hose continuing to drip after you’ve turned it off. It’s difficult to diagnose if this is water built up in the hose or if there’s an issue with the flow.
A good way to check is to remove the hose entirely. See if the valve itself is still leaking and wait a moment.
Another good tip is to place a receptacle like a bucket or tin under the hose bib. Check back later to see how much water has filled up. You can use this method to gauge how intense the leak is.
Sediment Building Up
If you’ve used your hose frequently, you’ve likely dealt with some sort of build-up of material. Crystallized minerals can build up around where the water flows as the water deposits them in passing.
St. Louis doesn’t have particularly hard water, which makes this process much slower. Our water exceeds the standards that the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency sets.
However, mineral build-up is inevitable regardless of the hardness of water. You may also notice rust or corrosion. These are the result of water constantly flowing through the metal due to the leak.
One of the best ways to see if there’s damage is to physically see if there’s damage. Plumbing issues are difficult to diagnose because much of the damage is often out of sight! The pipes run through walls or under our homes, making it impossible to see damage.
But if your hose bib is visibly damaged, the leak is likely due to this. Maybe you’ve accidentally tugged on your hose too hard and bent the bib. Another common event in some homes is to have accidentally nudged the bib with your automobile.
In such a situation, it’s best to stop using the hose bib until you have it repaired. Do your best to do so quickly so the water isn’t leaking long!
Loose or Squeaking Handles
Finally, you may notice loose or squeaking handles without seeing a leak. Why does this matter, though? If there’s no leak, isn’t this just moderately annoying at worst?
A loose handle is an indicator that something is damaged or needs adjusting. The nut that holds the handle in place may be worn or missing, which can lead to further issues.
Take this problem as a warning sign rather than a crisis in the making. If you work to repair the problem fast enough, you can avoid the worst of the situation!
Consequences of a Leaking Bib
With a better understanding of leaky bibs, we can look at the consequences. Why not just put a bucket under the leaking bib and use that water for your garden?
In some cases, you’re free to do just that, but these issues have a habit of getting worse. Here are some of the primary issues that come from having a leaking bib.
One of the most dominant issues is the environmental waste that comes with the leak. Did you know that the averaged American family wastes up to 180 gallons per week?
With so much water being wasted, saving every drop you can is important. If your hose is dripping onto your driveway and leaking away, you’re being incredibly wasteful.
More impactful to most of us is that this waste increases your water bill. Every drop that leaves your hose bib will still be tallied onto your utilities!
Another issue is the property damage that comes with the leak.
In some driveways or lawns, the leaking bib can cause corrosion or rampant weeds. You’ll also encourage weed and mold growth, which can cause health issues. Do your best to repair the damage quickly to keep your bills down.
Worsening Your Hose
Finally, a leaking bib will make your pipes worse. As the leak continues, rust and sediment build-up will ramp up as well.
These problems go from easily handled to requiring full replacement of pipes. If you handle it quickly, you can avoid the worst consequences. But if you sit on your hands and don’t call for a professional, you may have a much more intense issue on your hands in a few months.
How to Fix a Leaking Hose Bib
But what are you supposed to do to fix the problem? Thankfully, leaking hose bibs aren’t the end of the world. Here are the best ways to fix your issue.
The most obvious fix is to replace the hose bib. However, this fix depends on the damage.
If you’re lucky, the most severe damage will be a leaky or malfunctioning valve. You can remove the valve and add another that won’t have the same issue. In many cases, you can tighten the existing valve, which takes only a few minutes!
For more severe fixes, you’ll find this a difficult project to DIY. It’s highly recommended that you contact professionals for help.
Professional plumbers can help diagnose what’s causing your hose bib to leak. If there’s an issue with the plumbing, they can work safely and diligently to handle the problem for you.
Additionally, they can help advise you on problems with your utility company. In some cases, your utility company may help to waive your fees if the excess bill is from a leak.
Handling Hose Problems
A leaking hose bib seems like a small problem, but it can swiftly build up into more severe issues. Do your best to be on the lookout for the warning signs and don’t hesitate to act. If the problem seems severe, never wait to call professionals out to help you solve the issue.
If you’re in need of a plumber in the St. Louis area, be sure to contact us at Anton’s! Our technicians are trained in diagnosing and solving any issue you may have.