outdoor hose bib

What is a Hose Bib? (All You Need to Know)

In Lawn & Garden, Tips by Jamie

Having an outdoor spigot makes utilizing your outdoor spaces easier. Gardening without access to water outdoors would be a hassle. You can even use your hose to water your lawn, fill a pool, or set up a sprinkler for the kids to play in on those really hot summer days.

A hose bib is an essential bit of plumbing that most homeowners expect to have on the outside of their house. Located on the side or rear of the home, this faucet makes outdoor fun and gardening easy and convenient. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about your home’s hose bib.

What is a Hose Bib?

A hose bib is an outdoor tap where you attach your garden hose, they are also known as outdoor faucets, spigots, and even wall hydrants. Keep reading to learn more about hose bibs!

What is a Hose Bib Used for?

The main use of a hose bib is as a spigot for a garden hose to attach to. This makes it easier for people to do numerous outdoor activities, from washing their car to letting their kids play with water toys to having water on standby if they’re having a bonfire. Having access to water outdoors is a convenience most homeowners prefer to have.

How Does a Hose Bib Work?

American Valve M71HD 1/2" Hose Bibb, 1/2 Inch, Gold

Using a hose bib is simple. The mouth of the spigot has external threads that you use to attach a garden hose. If you need to attach a hose of a different size, you can find adapters that allow you to secure them to the faucet. Once you have your hose in place, just turn the knob to turn on the water.

What is the Standard Size for a Hose Bib Coming Out of a House?

Most sizes are relatively standardized. The inlets to connect your water supply line or lines will often be 1/2MPT, and the outlet where you connect your hose will be ¾ inch garden hose thread. There will certainly be exceptions to this, but as long as you see something like “standard hose thread” or “fits garden hoses” you should be in the clear.

What is the Standard Height for a Hose Bib to be Installed?

Hose bibs are generally installed at 12 to 16 inches above the ground. Any lower, and you may not have sufficient space for a check valve or timer. If installed higher, you are more likely to have visible plumbing.

What is the Difference Between a Hose Bib and a Spigot?

With terms like spigot and outdoor water faucet floating around, you may be wondering how a hose bib differs from things such as a spigot. The truth is, a hose bib, spigot, sillcock, and hydrant are all interchangeable terms referring to the exact piece of plumbing equipment.

Can You Replace Your Old Leaky Hose Bib Yourself?

The good news is, if your hose bib is leaking, this is a DIY project that most people should be able to tackle without needing to hire a handyman or plumber. The most important thing to remember before starting any plumbing project is that you need to make sure you turn off the water before your home. Be sure to use outdoor caulk around the hole leading into your home for a waterproof seal.

What is the Average Cost to Replace a Hose Bib?

Replacing your hose bib doesn’t have to be an expensive project. It’s always going to be cheaper if you do the work yourself. Hose bb replacement is going to range between $100 and $300, with the average cost being about $175. If you’re looking at a brand new installation, it could cost up to $500.

What is a Hose Bib Vacuum Breaker?

One of the potential downsides to having a  garden hose attached directly to your spigot is backflow. This happens when water pressure in the municipal or home water system drops suddenly, pulling water from your garden hose back into the water supply. Installing a hose bib vacuum breaker prevents this backflow. You simply install it directly onto the hose bib, then secure your hose to the breaker. They are an inexpensive item that can save you a lot of trouble in the future.

What is a Frost-Free Hose Bib? (Do you need one?)

If you live somewhere that gets below freezing in the winter, you should seriously consider replacing your current hose bib with a frost-free hose bib. This type of plumbing prevents damage from freezing in the winter, which is handy because you don’t have to shut the water supply from inside of your home. Most of these bibs also have a vacuum breaker, so you don’t have to worry that the change in pressure from temperature change in the winter will cause backflow to happen.

What is a Hose Bib Extender? Aqua Joe SJ-SHSBB-Gry Garden Hose Stand with Solid Brass Faucet w/Quick Install Anchor Base, Grey

If you’ve ever been gardening and wished you had a spigot out there where you’re working, a hose bib extender may be a great choice. This type of faucet gives you the convenience of a stationary spigot without having to do expensive plumbing work in your yard. You attach a hose to the top of the extender and install the tapered base into the ground. This allows you to fill buckets, water cans, etc., without having to hold the hose and the container.

Are There Any Exterior Hose Bib Code Requirements?

The International Residential Code used to state that all houses were required to have one hose bib in the front of the home and one on the back of the home, but this is no longer required universally. If you want to know what code requirements there are about hose bibs where you live, check with your local jurisdiction to see what their rules are. The codes can vary from state to state, county to county, and even city to city. In Minnesota, residents are required to have frost-free hose bibs. When in doubt, it never hurts to look into your local rules and regulations.