A hose bib is an outdoor faucet or spigot that bends downward. It has exterior or male threads to accept a garden hose coupling with interior or female threads. Choosing the size of bib to match the size of your hose depends on whether a 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch hose is appropriate for your gardening needs.
The Classic Bib
The most widely used bib has a handle on top that pushes or releases a screw that applies pressure to a rubber or neoprene washer. The classic brass model dates to 1845. The rubber washers will wear with frequent use and over time will lose some of their seal.
While it's good to have a bib the same size as your hose, choosing between a 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch bib is not as critical as it may first appear. You can buy couplings that will enable you to fit a different size hose to a 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch bib.
Since bib size and hose size are related, you need to consider what size of hose is best for your needs. A 3/4-inch hose will carry more water than a 1/2-inch hose. The most commonly used hoses in the U.S. are 3/4 inch and 5/8 inch in diameter, but if you simply want to water a garden, a 1/2-inch hose will do. Garden hoses are typically sold in lengths of 25, 75 and 100 feet. The longer the hose, the lower the water pressure. It is better to buy a hose just long enough to serve your needs. If you have to connect two hoses together, the connector may leak over time. A basic, reinforced vinyl hose is light weight, easy to use and inexpensive. If your hose will see heavy use, look for a vinyl hose reinforced with rubber.
Bibs and Winter Cold
Water can collect in a hose bib and burst it during freezing winter weather. You should have a stop valve on the inside of your house to shut off the water during the winter. Make sure your bib is drained before freezing weather hits. Frost-proof hose bibs designed for areas with winter frost have long stems extend into the heated interior of the house. These stems may be 8, 10, 12, 14 or 18 inches long.
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