An Outside Hose Bib Are You Ready to Replace It?

The outside hose bib or outside faucet. There are three basic types.

  1. Galvanized pipe: This type uses galvanized pipes for the water delivery. These pipes have a galvanized coating (silver looking) and rust from the inside out. These are typically found in older homes. They are easily identified by the threads on the back of the faucet.
    Usually, the faucet is screwed to a section of pipe routed through the wall and connected to the pipes under the house. This type of faucet can be rebuilt with just the water supply turned off. Replacing the washers and installing new seals will bring the broken faucet back to life as long as the housing is not damaged.
  2. Copper soldered: This type of faucet is also used with galvanized pipe with adapters in most areas of the country. It is no longer used in new construction. This type is a bronze casting soldered to a section of copper pipe. It is fed through a hole in the foundation and soldered to the copper plumbing that supplies water to the rest of the house. This faucet can be rebuilt by replacing the washers and gaskets with just the water supply turned off.
  3. Frost proof: They are a more modern outside hose bib. The water shutoff mechanism is extended into the crawl space or basement to prevent freezing during cold spells. These faucets are maintenance free and use ceramic seals that do not wear out. They are 11 inches long or longer and extend past the foundation to keep from freezing.
  4. Removing and replacing a hose bib/outside faucet can be done with just one person, but two people make the job go much faster, easier and with less possible damage to the plumbing system within the house. One person needs to be under the house in the crawl space or in the basement to gain access to the rear of the faucet. This is so he/she can break it loose from the house water system. The other person needs to be next to the faucet outside to unscrew it.

Removing old faucet:

  1. First, turn the water supply OFF.
  2. Remove any screws attaching the faucet to the outside wall.
  3. Then remove the faucet:
  • Threaded connection – Gain access to the rear of the faucet. Take an adjustable wrench and a pipe wrench with you.

NOTE: NEVER attempt to unscrew the faucet from the outside as you can twist the pipes apart under the house.

  1. Have someone hold the pipe from inside the crawl space or the basement, twist counterclockwise to remove the outside faucet. Unscrew and pull straight out.
  • Soldered copper connection – Open the faucet to remove any water under pressure. This will allow you to unsolder the joint from underneath the floor. Take a plumbers torch to unsolder the fitting. The solder is HOT so be careful. Pull the pipe straight out to remove.

Installing a New Frostproof Hose Bib/Faucet:

A new frostproof faucet comes with a plastic spacer that will be tied to it. The plastic spacer should be installed between the faucet and the wall. This spacer tilts the faucet down allowing water inside to drain out. This prevents the pipe from freezing.

  • Depending upon the type of frostproof faucet you have, determine exactly how far into the wall the pipe connected to the new faucet should go to connect to the old pipes under the house. Measure carefully.

NOTE: Never solder a frost proof faucet, as the ceramic and rubber seals can be damaged by the heat, unless you are experienced at soldering this type of faucet. Instead use threaded fittings which are part of the faucet. A plumber will solder the pipe because it is quicker.

  • Wrap insulating tape around the faucet where it penetrates the concrete foundation. This keeps corrosion to a minimum as the concrete is acidic. It also prevents the faucet from rubbing on the concrete.

That is all there is to replacing a hose bib/outside faucet. The hardest part is getting to the rear of the faucet. Just take your time and it should go well and save you money.

Dave Altman

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