7 Signs Your Hose Bib in Calgary Needs Repair

Calgary Hose bib in need of repair
What do Calgary homeowners use the most on their property when it’s summer? Some probably find themselves on their deck or porch charging some sun or filling an inflatable pool for their kids and pets. Others might be doing garden work or rinsing off their cars. We need access to water inside our homes as well as outside. Did a light bulb just go on? Your garden sprinkler might come to mind, but let’s move closer to the supply outlet—what would we call that fixture?

Many people call it an outdoor faucet, which is connected to a supply line and allows them to use it on the exterior of their home conveniently. But the more technical term for that plumbing fixture is hose bib. Calgary property owners use it to water their greenhouse and garden but aren’t aware that outdoor plumbing fixtures require the same attention as our indoor fixtures, if not more because they’re exposed to external contaminants that could potentially affect our whole water supply.

When you prepare our plumbing system for the winter months, you might remember to insulate the pipes that are in unheated areas of our house. Heat wraps are known to effectively prevent frozen pipes, especially if these pipes are regularly in use. But how often do people remember to winterize their outdoor faucets in Calgary? Hose bibs can freeze and cause water damage behind walls and even contaminate our entire supply line if you forget to drain them. If you just realized that you neglected this part of your plumbing maintenance, we will tell you about signs of damage to watch out for.

From a dripping spout to a leaking supply line, trust your Calgary plumber at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary to quickly identify the root cause. We have repaired numerous hose bibs in our local community and want to enlighten you about the essentials of hose bibs and how to maintain them.

Hose Bib? Aren’t There Different Names?

It’s essentially a valve used to connect to a garden hose, but we could argue that the term isn’t commonly used across the country because people prefer simpler terms. However, the plumbing industry has its own dictionary with several technical names for the same thing. But let’s avoid any confusion and ensure that we’re talking about the same unit. Here’s what people search for online:

  • Hose bibbs

  • Outdoor faucet

  • Exterior faucet

  • Hose faucet

  • Spigot (more common among plumbers)

  • Sill cock

The key difference between an indoor and an outdoor faucet is the material used. When exposed to the elements, it requires certain characteristics to safely serve property owners in Calgary. Hose bibs are unlike your standard faucets inside your home; they must have a more durable and weather-resistant quality to stay intact. Therefore, they are primarily made of metal materials, like heavy-duty, lead-free cast brass. The wheel-like handle is usually of the same material with a non-slip coating in a noticeable color (black, blue, red). A hose bib’s design is defined by a body, stem, handle, and spout. Typical sizes include 1/2 or 3/4 inches, which ultimately depends on your water line’s diameter.

How Does A Hose Bib Function?

It’s an outdoor faucet connected to your indoor water pipe, just like all your other plumbing fixtures in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. It essentially consists of the same parts and also has a shut-off valve, so you can shut it off during the winter to avoid problems.

What Are The Different Types?

We have mentioned that 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch units are the standard sizes. You may find that smaller diameters offer a stronger pressure. Type-wise, many serve the same functions, except that some are more optimized or flexible than others. Some popular types include:

  • Ball Valve: Ball valves are common and good at maximizing flow. They also offer a tight enough seal when not in use. It offers decent flow control but not pressure. (This is more typical in newer homes.)

  • No-Kink: This has a 60-degree angle spout that prevents your garden hose from pinching. (Note: If you need water at a higher speed, it’s worth purchasing a high-quality garden hose with different settings.)

  • Gate Valve: Gate valves have similar functions as ball valves, but they’ve become outdated and should be upgraded.

  • Anti-Siphon: This is a one-way valve designed to prevent water from siphoning back. This is required by code in some areas unless you have a vacuum breaker.

  • Loose Key: Want to control who uses your water? A loose key unit comes with a detachable 1/4 square key which you should always keep in a safe place.

  • Frost-Free: Frost-free hose bibs in Calgary are common. They’re equipped with an opening and closing valve that stops water from sitting inside the pipe when you’ve stopped using it for the winter.

Which One Is Right For Hose Bib Installation?

There’s no right or wrong unless you remember to maintain it accordingly by following some guidelines. According to the City of Calgary, vacuum breakers for outdoor faucets are a code requirement. We’ll get to that later. If you are unsure whether you have a vacuum breaker, your local Calgary plumber is happy to check that for you. Whatever the case, a new hose bib installation might be the best choice.

7 Signs You Need A Calgary Hose Bib Repair

Not only do our plumbing experts handle indoor plumbing issues, but they specialize in repairing or replacing your outdoor hose bib. Calgary property owners enjoy a convenient outdoor plumbing fixture but aren’t always aware of the maintenance requirements during the year’s colder months, which, unfortunately, could lead to some problems. Here are the seven signs you need hose bib repair services:

Cross Connection - Dirty water!

Let’s start with the most concerning sign of trouble. A cross connection is the link between potable and non-potable water. For example, if your spigot is submerged in an ornamental garden pool or you connect it to a contaminated garden hose, chances are that contaminants will enter your supply line through cross-connection. This also applies to in-ground lawn irrigation systems. Vacuum breakers could prevent this issue; otherwise, the best way to determine contamination is to check for cloudiness or discoloration. It’s safest to have your local Calgary plumber do testing so that you can start your summer worry-free.

Frozen Hose Bib

Calgary homeowners’ tricks include using a hair dryer, heat lamp, or space heater. To help you save your energy, your licensed Calgary plumber will thaw it with professional heat cables and wraps. Afterward, you can properly drain the pipe through the spigot before insulating it for the rest of the winter. Another necessary precaution includes turning off the shut-off valve connected to the spigot. We might also recommend installing a frost-free spigot to protect your lines from severe cold waves.

Leaky Outdoor Faucet

Since there are many reasons for leaks, you can always try to fix it with the first assumption that comes to mind: a loose packing nut. Tighten it with a wrench to stop the leak. If that doesn’t solve the issue, you may need a packing washer replacement. If that doesn’t fix the leak, it could indicate a faulty stem, meaning that you might have to replace the gasket. Your Calgary plumber also recommends checking your indoor plumbing fixtures for leaks, such as leaky faucets.

Running Water Behind Siding

It’s alarming to hear running fluids that you can’t see. This could indicate a busted pipe behind your wall or even clogged gutters spilling stormwater. Besides checking your rain gutters, we suggest that you check your meter and shut off your supply line for two hours, and check again. If it’s still moving, call your Calgary plumber for an emergency plumbing diagnosis and inspection. At. Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary uses our high-end technology to diagnose the root cause of pipe damage. Supply line leaks are certainly a case of a plumbing emergency in our books.

Indoor Faucets Releasing Dirt

If you notice a pressure restriction when you turn on your faucet, try to unscrew the aerator to see if anything is stuck behind it. If dirt or sediments are flowing out, there could be corrosion in your water tank heater, or foreign particles have accessed your supply line via your hose bib. Calgary homeowners should notify their licensed plumber and report this issue to the municipality.

Drop-In Pressure

Pressure changes can mean a lot—from burst pipes to clogged pipelines. Because Calgary distributes hard water, it’s likely you have a buildup of calcium deposits in your lines. Your safest bet is to contact your Calgary plumber for a detailed diagnosis.

Water Hammer

The ball valve tends to trigger this when you shut off your water fast during high flow. This can be damaging if you have copper lines. If you don’t have a pressure regulation system, you can call the municipality or your local Calgary plumber for assistance. There are other ways to secure those pipes.

Calgary Hose Bibs – Preventative Maintenance

Want to know how to best maintain your hose bib? Calgary homeowners have a lot to do for winterization! We are here to help you do it right. Follow these steps to ensure your supply lines stay safe:

Remove Your Garden Sprinkler Before Winter

At the end of the summer, you might store everything in the garage or basement. Don’t forget your sprinkler! We’ve seen many Calgary property owners leave it connected to their spigot, which we do not recommend. Unscrew it, drain it, and put it away.

Turn Off Shut Off Valve

It’s safest to turn off your hose bib’s shut-off valve during the winter. Locate the shut-off valve, which is usually nearby or in your basement.

Pro Tip: Just to be safe, drain your hose bib in Calgary, letting out every last drop. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with frozen pipes.

Get A Frost-Free Hose Bib

A frost-free hose bib is best at cutting off your water supply automatically; thus, protecting from a series of potential damages.

Replace Your Calgary Hose Bib

While they last a good decade or two, it all comes down to maintenance. If your existing one looks worn or you haven’t been using it seasonally, replace it for your peace of mind. When you pick a new one, ensure the diameter and material are compatible with your supply line (i.e., PEX pipe, copper, or PVC).

Install A Vacuum Breaker (Backflow Preventer)

When you install an efficient vacuum breaker, you help prevent water from flowing backward. This way, you ensure your outdoor faucet won’t experience cross-contamination. When people experience backflow problems, they might also have low-pressure issues.

Your Calgary plumber will screw the threaded brass device onto your hose bib’s mouth. When shutting off the running water, the valve will close and the pressure is reduced. It’s thanks to the air pressure that the water won’t flow backward into the faucet. Alberta plumbing codes require backflow prevention to ensure that contamination doesn't affect our drinking supply. Not sure if you have a backflow preventer? Or do you want to check if it’s working correctly, count on your certified Calgary plumber?

Turn Off Your Sprinkler When Not In Use

When done watering your garden, remember to shut off the tap. In the worst case, you could risk exposing your home to legionella and other harmful bacteria. Besides, you could also risk rupturing your garden hose and increasing your utility bill.

Ask Your Calgary Plumber!

Mr. Rooter’s experienced and certified plumbers have the tools and knowledge to service your home’s pipework, including your hose bib. Calgary plumbers always strive to create a safe and healthy environment for property owners.

Need A Hose Bib Installation or Repair? Call Your Local Calgary Plumber!

Hopefully, we were able to give you a deeper insight into the functions and sensitivities of your outdoor faucet. If you notice any inconsistencies in pressure or didn’t drain it before the winter months, feel free to call the pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary for a checkup.

Our local pros use the most cutting-edge technology to detect leaks and other pipe damages. Each of our plumbing technicians brings many years of experience, in-depth training, and access to the best tools to quickly and efficiently solve your plumbing problems. In fact, we've helped numerous homeowners across Calgary, from Calgary South, Haysboro, and beyond.

We invite you to give our friendly customer service staff a call. Ask them any questions that you may have regarding your outdoor faucet or other plumbing services, including drain cleaning or sump pump installations.