Spigot vs Standard Hose Bibs – Know the Difference

If you ever take a walk around your house, you will notice the faint glimmer of a metal prosthetic tap jutting out of the silhouette of your walls. That is your water faucet, an outlet for the water inside your house. You commonly use that faucet to join a pipe or hose when you want to water your lawns. Tending to outdoor gardens is that much easier with these faucets. These functional taps outside your house are also called hose bibs, spigots, or sillcocks. 

While all these terminologies are used interchangeably in colloquial tongues, there are a few minute differences between all of them. In fact, a sillcock and a hose bib are pretty much the same things, but a spigot is considerably different from that pack. There are minute differences between the structure and function of a hose bib and a spigot, and we will take a look at those right away.

Spigots and hose bibs are terms used in plumbing and home management, and they are used rather interchangeably. That is because both these pipes are, in essence, faucets. They only differ in their structure and function by a little margin. Let us take a look at these differences and understand the idea behind building a spigot and a hose bib.

What is a standard hose bib?

Typically, for individual houses, you will find a tiny pipe outlet outside the walls. Such outlets are created for your pleasure – so that you can easily connect and maneuver your water hose or pipe. Generally, the spout of a hose bib is at a 60-degree angle for easy access to the pipe. Moreover, it has a valve to control the flow of water. These shut-off valves in every hose bib are located close to the wall. Such valves have to be operated manually and are a classic design.

A hose bib is like any other tap or faucet inside your house. It works to pump water outside the house whenever you might need it there. The best part about a hose bib is that they are a common phenomenon in houses. That means they exist in standard sizes and fit most hoses easily and gracefully. Moreover, they are inexpensive and easy to install, making them a big hit among contractors. 

Structure and function

A standard hose bib comprises four main parts – a handle, body, stem, and spout. There may be variations to the design, but these parts are inseparable from any hose bib. The bibs come in two prime sizes – ½ inch or ¾ inch. These measurements apply to the diameter of the spouts of every hose bib. Choosing the correct diameter size depends on how much pressure you want in your hose. The diameter of a hose bib is inversely proportional to the water pressure it generates. Therefore, if you want more pressure in the pipe, go for a smaller variable. 

While a hose bib might only be visible outside the walls of your house, you can be sure that there is a complex plumbing mechanism behind it. Every hose bib is connected to pipes that branch out from the main water supply of your home. In addition to these pipes, each bib is armed with a shut-off valve located close to the spout itself. This valve is essential since it controls water flow from the central vent to the bib and into the hose or pipe. The valve helps cut down the water supply specifically to the hose bib, ensuring that the supply stays untouched to the rest of the house. 

 

What is a hose bib spigot?

A spigot is a commonly used term in home maintenance and building circles. It can be attributed to many different sects of the building genre. Since we are talking about hose pipes and other plumbing areas, we will talk about hose bib spigots here. A spigot is any kind of pipe that you can join to another part by inserting it into the wider-diameter end of the other part. 

Colloquially, the word “spigot” is used by professionals, i.e., people in the industry. These can include professional handypersons, plumbers, builders, architects, etc. The term itself is often synonymous with “faucet” in the USA and “tap” in the UK.

A spigot is typically used to label the “male” parts of joints. To continue the analogy, a spigot hose bib is not very different from any other standard bib. We can call “spigot” an umbrella term for all hose bibs. In the case of a hose bib, the spout of the bib acts as a spigot to the pipe. The spout of a bib – as spouts generally go – tapers towards its periphery, and creates a male part of a spigot. The tube, or hose, then fits around the spigot, thus making a joint. Spigots offer seamless transitions and joints in all industrial trades. In plumbing, they ensure that no water leaks out from the faucet or the pipe. 

 

What is a frost-proof sillcock?

A sillcock is another synonym for hose bibs. The name “sillcock” comes from the position of the faucet. It is located right under the sill, a tad over the foundation of the house. A constant problem that people face with sillcocks and all other faucets is that of freezing. In cold regions, where temperatures can quickly drop below zero, water on the outside freezes. Thanks to the anomalous properties of water, it expands when frozen. 

Sometimes the faucet or bib is not dried out properly, and some water is left in it. When the cold strikes, this water freezes and expands, deteriorating the condition of the pipes in the house. The hose bib itself gets damaged and may even crack and break in severe conditions. 

Newer hose bib designs have tried to solve the freezing problem. The latest mechanism is where the shut-off valve of every bib is located in a heated portion of the house. It is often located inside the house, right next to where the plumbing jumps outside the walls. The handiness of the shut-off valve allows homeowners to drain the hose bib before the first freeze. If the small remnants of water are not drained out of the faucet, the hose bib may become damaged. 

As we mentioned above, a hose bib has four primary components. Out of these, the handle and the stem are connected to the shut-off valve. Once a user twists the handle, the stem makes the body slide inwards, incidentally seating the valve down. Once the valve has shut down, the water flow stops. Now, the pipe and the bib are free to drain the remaining bits of water out.

 One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is to keep their hoses attached to their bibs. Once your job outside is done, it is imperative to detach the pipe from the faucet. Failure to do so will result in water remaining inside the hose bib and damaging it. Another factor that homeowners must keep in mind is that the shut-off valve must be on a higher elevation than the faucet itself. Doing this would ensure that movement from the valve is duly followed through in the pipe and the faucet. 

The latest models of frost-free hose bibs include new designs in shut-off valves. You can get customized valves that suit the length of your plumbing the best. These new industry entrants are self-resetting pressure valves specializing in protecting the hose bib from rupturing in winters. If water is left in the bib in winters and allowed to freeze, the self-resetting pressure valve automatically functions to drain the water out, preventing the expansion of water. These “freezeless” sillcocks are instrumental to your home. If you notice any leaks around your hose bib, turn off your main water supply first. You can then replace the necessary components easily. 

Conclusion

Hose bibs, spigots, sillcocks, and faucets are all siblings in the plumbing family. They are all taps built outside the house, generally for cleaning, gardening, etc. They are an integral part of the house and are connected to the main water supply. While the standard design for all these features stays the same, there is a slight variation in size and shape. You can choose the size and shape of your sillcock according to your comfort and needs. Most designs are affordable and easy to install. 

All these taps are armed with a shut-off valve. Such valves are a necessity when it comes to plumbing. You will notice most plumbing appliances carrying some version of a shut-off valve. These are devices used to prevent mishaps and water wastage. It is the homeowners’ responsibility to install the hose bib carefully and adequately. Users can also employ professional plumbers to do the job. It is also essential to follow local guidelines related to the presence of bibs outside the house. 

Homeowners must also take good care of the faucet and prevent any water from remaining in the spout. The effects of the same can be devastating. Following a few simple guidelines can prevent you from constantly replacing your spigot, hose bib, or sillcock. 

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