How to Install a Freeze-Resistant Outdoor Faucet or Hose Bibb
Having an outdoor faucet is so very convenient. For washing the car and watering the plants or garden to filling the family pool, an outdoor spigot makes all the difference. Many homeowners have a love-hate relationship with their outdoor plumbing because it is often a source of worry during the winter when water can freeze inside and cause problems. Installing a freeze-resistant outdoor faucet can help eliminate or reduce your worry when it comes to frozen outdoor plumbing that leads to problems elsewhere in your plumbing system and damage to your home.
Freeze-Resistant and Anti-Siphon Outdoor Faucets
Many plumbing improvements over the past few decades make it possible to install an outdoor faucet that isn't likely to freeze if you forget to shut down the faucet and drain the water line before winter sets in (which can cause your pipes to freeze or burst). This is possible through the installation of a frost-proof outdoor faucet that keeps the flow valve for your outdoor faucet within the heated walls of your home. This feature works by shutting the flow back of water off at the bottom of the stem inside a heated space. This is an anti-siphon feature that is built into the spout.
Installed properly through a wall and sloping downwards, remaining water is forced out of the spout. This anti-siphon device is also a vacuum breaker. Most building codes now require this type of device and it is ready built into many new outdoor faucets; existing outdoor faucets can be modified to add this anti-siphoning feature. Let's look at how to install these freeze-resistant outdoor faucets, anti-siphon valves, and necessary shut off valves for your new or existing outdoor plumbing. This anti-siphon also prevents unsanitary or contaminated water from being pulled back through your garden hose, which can cause contamination of your home's water supply. This type of outdoor faucet installation is not very expensive (costing anywhere from $5 - $100, depending on the items you need for your particular situation). The main work involved is connecting new fittings if you have plastic or PVC pipes, or soldering work if you have copper pipe work. Let's look at how you can do this project yourself quickly and accurately.
Planning for Installation
Your first step when installing or upgrading your freeze-resistant hose bibb is to call your local plumbing inspector to determine the requirements in your locality when it comes to this type of work. You may need a permit. Plumbing codes vary around the U.S., but most typically require that you install ½" to ¾" minimum (inside diameter) supply lines running to the hose bibb, approved vacuum breaker or a hose bibb with built in vacuum breaker (anti-siphon), and a stop valve or shut off valve.
Next, you will need to measure your existing plumbing and sketch out a new layout for installation of your outdoor faucet. On your sketch, note where each fitting and each pipe should go, and whether the part has threaded or solvent welded joints, and describe the part on the sketch. Determine what supplies you will need for the project and make a shopping list. You can choose from various lengths of out door faucets, ranging from eight inches to twelve inches, and diameters (inside) from ½" to ¾". The diameter that you select should be determined by the local code governing your area and the length will simply be what is needed to give you enough room to attach the fittings and pipes.
Installation is pretty straightforward. First, shut off the valve to the main supply of water (where the water enters your home). Drain the water system, and remove the old pipe and hose bib. Attach the new outdoor faucet, and move inside to reattach the rest of the assembly, working from the old pipe end to the new hose bibb. Installation shouldn't take very long, as you are basically only replacing the hose bibb, not installing a completely new faucet from scratch.
Tips for Installation of Your New Hose Bib
- If your foundation is brick or concrete, you may need to make the opening bigger to install the freeze-resistant hose bibb, using a masonry "hole saw" that attaches to a drill.
- Pipe tape or pipe compound can be used on the male ends of pipe threads.
- New pipe should be installed level to the existing pipe in the heated area, and installed in a downward slope to allow for drainage.
- Pipe hangers should be used every three feet in order to support pipe. Copper pipe hangers should be used on pipes made of copper.
- Turn the water on for at least three minutes to flush out any impurities and debris after you install your new outdoor faucet.