To Fix a Leaky Hose Bib Without Burning Up Your
By Contractor Mike
Oct 20, 2009
The lesson today is, never work on the plumbing
pipes without first shutting off the inlet valve
to the water heater.
You will remember from our last installment there’s
nothing like the surge of absolute power one gets
after fixing a stuck garbage disposal with a broom
handle, and not miss the last two minutes of that
life-or-death football game you were watching.
You step outside one morning to fetch the newspaper
at the foot of your sloping driveway. As you approach,
you do a double take at a dripping hose bib. Somebody
decided to put the hose bib close to the street
so he wouldn’t have to drag a long hose down
there if and when he needed water. But now it’s
leaking. So, based upon your previous success with
that mayonnaise oar, you want to fix it!
Like with the wall switch to the garbage disposal,
first things first. There’s a gate valve
near your pressure regulator that shuts off all
water to the house and garden. Shut it off.
Go and find your keys (explained later) and two
pipe wrenches – a big one and a bigger one.
If you don’t have them, you should, because
torque is now your best friend. You will also need
a roll of Teflon plumber’s tape and a combo
slot/Phillips head screwdriver.
Okay, holding one wrench on either the male nipple
or female fitting connected to the hose bib, put
clockwise pressure on it … we don’t
have to go through that again, do we? Good. The
hose bib threads are probably rusted, so put some
more pressure on it, and … oh crap! The
bib and nipple leading into it twisted and broke
This is why you have two pipe wrenches!
Let’s back up again. Using the smaller pipe
wrench, put clockwise pressure on the closest plumbing
part to the hose bib, and at the same time turn
the hose bib counterclockwise with the other wrench.
The more pressure you exert on the big wrench needs
to be compensated by the same pressure on the smaller
one, but in the opposite direction.
It breaks free and starts to rotate, and you haven’t
damaged anything else, so you’re in good
shape … so far. Don’t worry about
all the water running out the end of the pipe ‘cause
you’re downgrade and it takes a while to
Continue to page 2
Contractor Mike was a General Building
Contractor for nearly twenty years in Los Angeles
and is now a produced playwright.