Also known as a sill cock, a hose bib is the tap you will find outside your back door. Made for the attachment of a washing machine or garden hose, it has threading on the spout. The hose bib is also found on the rainwater barrels used in suburban gardens to provide a source of fresh, clean, free water for the winter months when municipal restrictions are commonplace. A hose would need to be attached to the barrel to ensure the water reaches the garden.
The Function of the Design
The name, hose bib also denotes the function of this type of tap. It has been designed to drain itself of water in the part of the tap exposed to the elements to prevent cracking or freezing in winter. However homeowners habitually leave their garden hose or washing machine hose permanently attached to these taps. Prevented from draining the excess water the tap then cracks or splits as it freezes. If the hose bib is left dripping through winter it will also crack due to the ice build-up.
Repairing Cracked Hose Bibs
Besides the nuisance factor if the hose bib cracks, repairs can be very difficult as piping has been installed in exterior walls, ceilings or floors and is hard to get to. Sometimes the split expands the hose bib and is so difficult to remove that it may be more reasonable to seal it off and install another tap elsewhere on the pipe. If the old hose bib is easy to remove, a new one can simply be screwed into the piping.