Replacing a Leaky Hose Bib

The hose bib directly outside our laundry room leaked water consistently, and tightening it did not help to stop the leak.  We had to get a new hose bib and a little plumbing to fix it.

  • Find out what size you need to buy.  For us, we needed a 1/2″ hose bib and coupling.
  • Gather the materials: hose bib, coupling, propane torch, solder, copper piping.

The first order of business was to shut off the water supply to the house, which was conveniently only a foot away. Channel locks and a firm tug accomplished this. Once the water was turned off (note: we had to open a faucet to let the water drain somewhere else), I used a pipe cutter to cut the pipe several inches away from the elbow and pulled it through the hole from outside.

The water line runs parallel to the wall, has a 90 degree junction that travels straight up, and a 90 degree elbow that leads it through the wall an outside. for this job, we only had to replace the leaking bib so I cut about 2 inches away from the elbow.

We first soldered the copper pipe (about 1 foot) into the new hose bib. It’s a pretty simple process:

  • use a pipe cleaner on the last couple inches of the pipe that will be soldered (it’s a handy tool that has a couple different sized holes with steel bristles which you insert the pipe and rotate a few times)
  • apply a generous amount of flux on the cleaned end of the pipe (you can get this at any hardware supply store. it’s a goopy substance you buy in a small tin and apply with a brush)
  • insert the pipe into the rear end of the hose bib 🙂
  • have matches (or lighter) at the ready
  • uncoil about 6 inches of soldering tin-lead
  • open the propane valve slightly and hold lit match/lighter up to it until it ignites
  • this next part requires a bit of patience: hold the end of the solder line up to the joint and move the blowtorch flame close enough to start melting it **********move the blowtorch from side to side and don’t hold it in the same spot or you will start scorching the pipe and dissolving the flux*******
  • as it melts, move the end of the coil around the joint until there is a liquid metal bead against the lip of the joint
  • steadily apply heat while moving the torch until the tin is drawn into the joint. when all the tin is drawn inside, you are finished.

I took the newly soldered bib and pipe and inserted it through the hole from outside. The next step was to solder the coupling onto the remaining pipe after the elbow following the same process: clean, apply flux, light torch, melt tin, heat until drawn into joint. Be sure that there isn’t any water left in the pipe or dripping out of it, or you will not be able the heat the metal sufficiently to melt the tin (which is quite frustrating).

After soldering the coupling on and then the hose bib piece into it (make sure the hose bib is right side up BEFORE soldering) we turned the water on and let ‘er rip. Success 🙂 No leaks and it worked perfectly.

 

 

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