How to Replace a Frost Free Hose Bib

Tips for Replacing a Frost Free Hose Bib without Having to Cut into Drywall

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Mark, I need to replace a frost free hose bib on the house. The house is on a slab so I do not have access to the threaded joint at the base of the faucet. A plumber replaced the other bib on the house earlier, so I know it is threaded.

I am handy, but somewhat worried about making a water emergency when I put a wrench on the hose bib to attempt to unthread it from the outside of the house. The bib also has some grout on it holding it to the brick.

What is the best procedure for removing this without cutting drywall inside the house to access the connection?

Answer: Dick, First turn the water main off to the house. Then check the hose bib that you want to replace to make sure no water is flowing from it. If it is frozen shut, check the other known working hose bib. Turn the valve to the on position to make sure water is not running. Then turn the valve back to the close position. This should prevent any accidental water damage.

Next, on the hose bib you want to replace, often there are two screws on either side of the hose bib. Remove them. Also, use a screw driver to remove some of the grout around the neck of the hose bib.

Then, using either a large crescent wrench or adjustable pliers, turn the hose bib counterclockwise to loosen it up. Note: I am assuming it is threaded like the other one.

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After removing it, apply a liberal amount of plumbers tape to the threads on the replacement hose bib. Then slide the replacement frost free hose bib into the hole and hand thread it until it is snug. Be careful not to cross-thread it. Then tighten up the hose bib with the wrench / adjustable pliers. Install the screws to attach the hose bib firmly to the exterior wall.

Finally turn the water main back on and test to see if it works. With any luck you should be in good shape.

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