Here’s a bit of fix-it trivia for you: the exterior faucet to which you connect lawn hoses is called a hose bib. You can toss out this technical term to impress friends and neighbors, right? Whatever you call it, keep these tips in mind to help things run smoothly.
For cold climates, locate the interior valve before winter sets in so you can turn the water off. Remove any hose attached to the bib, then open the exterior valve. This allows water to drain from the piping so it can’t freeze and break a pipe.
For both warm and cold climates, some type of vacuum breaker should be connected to the hose bib. It might be a round brass fitting attached to the threaded connection. In newer hose bibs, the vacuum breaker is built in; look for a large cap on the top of the valve.
Why does your hose bib need a vacuum breaker? It prevents dirty water from flowing backward into your drinking water system. If there’s low pressure in your home’s system, water can be drawn indoors from a hose lying in a dog dish or connected to a garden chemical sprayer — yuck! Such low water pressure could occur, for example, when a fire department’s pumper draws water from elsewhere in the municipal system, creating low (negative) pressure all down the line.
By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It