For homeowners having access to water outdoors is crucial for activities such as washing cars, watering plants, or filling up pools. This is typically achieved through a device known as a spigot or faucet.
What are these outdoor water spigots and how do you determine which type suits your needs?
An outdoor water spigot, also referred to as a faucet is a fixture that allows you to connect a hose or use a spout to access water.
Spigots can be installed directly on a wall or positioned in the ground. They function like taps used outdoors enabling you to control the flow of water by using a valve or handle.
Spigots are incredibly handy for tasks such, as irrigation, cleaning, or leisure purposes.
In this guide, we will explore the types of spigots. Discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Towards the end of the article, we will also delve into the factors you should consider while making your choice.
Types of Outdoor Water Spigots
Different types of water spigots are available depending on the need of the homeowner. In this section, we will explore some types of outdoor water spigot systems.
1. Basic Spigots
The most straightforward outdoor water fixture is the classic basic spigot. Constructed simply of a water spout and manual valve controlling flow, basic spigots attach directly to exterior cold water pipes for tapping into the home’s supply. By turning the valve handle to open/close the passageway, users can access water on demand for various outdoor tasks.
The valve itself is usually a multi-turn compression style that allows decent control over water volume and pressure. The open spigot end typically has a wider diameter mouth versus household faucets, which makes it easy for them to fill large buckets, watering cans, or other vessels by hand.
However, the spout lacks any threaded fittings to attach garden hoses or accessories directly. Even though it’s possible to use adapters to connect hoses to basic spigots, they may reduce the water pressure and increase the risk of leaks.
While very affordable and sufficiently durable for moderate usage, basic spigots have notable downsides. The exposed valve and supply line make them prone to freeze damage in cold climates.
Routine maintenance is recommended to keep compression washers sealing tightly without leaks over years of wear. But with proper seasonal care, a no-frills basic spigot can serve homes dependably for general outdoor water needs.
2. Hose Bibbs
To utilize the convenience of garden hoses outside, hose bibb spigots represent the most fitting choice.
Like basic bibs, a hose bib faucet protrudes from exterior walls with both a manual spigot and tap valve controlling flow. But hose bibbs incorporate a threaded front fitting specifically designed to directly screw on standard garden hoses without requiring adapters.
The integrated fitting allows the flexibility to not only fill containers by hand, but also attach hoses for tasks like yard irrigation, autowashing vehicles, or distance-watering gardens.
The valve operates identically as a basic bib, utilizing a compression water system to turn water on/off and throttle flow strength. This makes adjusting pressure simple for delicate seedlings vs robust trees.
However, built solely of metal, most hose bibbs share the Achilles heel of pipes bursting if temperatures dip below freezing. So winterizing properly by shutting supply valves and draining lines remains crucial.
the most manipulated outdoor component over time, more wear means checking periodically for leaks around worn washers. But with proper care, hose bibs bring optimal outdoor functionality.
3. Freeze-Proof Spigots
For homes situated in regions facing frigid winter climates, using outdoor faucets vulnerable to freezing becomes crucial.
When temperatures dip below 32°F, any residual water inside pipes expands as it converts to ice, placing intense pressure on inflexible metal plumbing. This frequently leads to ruptures, cracks, and waterlogged damage throughout the infrastructure.
Fortunately, installing advanced frost-proof faucets provides an elegant solution. Their key innovation lies in extending the inner valve stem over 3 feet back into the house through the insulated wall, protected from exterior cold.
With the compression valve itself residing entirely in a climate-controlled interior space, no water remains exposed that could potentially freeze and expand.
Additionally, most frost-free faucet bodies feature a slightly angled install that facilitates liquid drainage via gravity, preventing stationary internal puddles.
The combination of insulation and pitch makes such faucets utterly reliable even when wintery conditions push below zero. Although it comes at a premium cost (typically between $30 and $100 depending on brand and quality), freeze-proof models deliver essential year-round outdoor access minus seasonal draining and reattachment hassles.
4. Ball Valves
An alternative to traditional compression flow control for outdoor faucets lies within the nearly indestructible ball valve faucet.
Installed similarly through exterior walls, ball valves eliminate the needle nose compression design. In its place sits a hollow metal sphere with a perfectly carved hole bored directly through the middle.
This spherical core fits within a socket housing able to rotate a full 90 degrees. As the metal ball turns, it either aligns or offsets from the supply line holes on either side, creating fully on or fully off states.
Unlike finicky compression faucets, the simplicity of a single piece rotating metal ball results in zero internal parts prone to wearing down or needing replacement.
The tradeoff does come in the form of lacking incremental flow control compared to compression faucets – this means that you cannot adjust pressure or volume to suit different needs.
But the resilience and lifetime reliability of ball valves keeps water flowing carefree for decades without maintenance or hesitation about leaving it open unattended for hours. Their formidable toughness makes ball valves wonderful hands-free additions.
5. Yard Hydrants
For residential properties situated distantly from main utility hookups, obtaining water for detached garages, barns, or sheds can be challenging. Running supply underground pipes across acres of land becomes unrealistic.
Fortunately, self-contained yard hydrants provide decentralized water taps able to situate conveniently wherever desired.
Resembling old-fashioned hand pumps, yard hydrants feature a tall, vertical cast iron or galvanized steel body that connects via buried pipes to access underground water mains.
By manually pushing and pulling the long pump handle protruding above ground, the internal shaft and piston create suction, pulling fresh water to the surface on demand.
With a narrow footprint not much wider than a pole, yard hydrants distribute water liberally across landscapes.
Their long service life and minimal maintenance requirements also make yard hydrants an efficient way to establish off-the-grid watering stations for gardening sheds, filling livestock troughs, topping decorative pools, or crafting outdoor kitchens detached from central plumbing.
6. Anti-Siphon Faucets and Valves
All outdoor water fixtures carry potential cross-contamination hazards if pressure fluctuations cause siphoning back into interior freshwater supplies. Harmful chemicals, bacteria, and debris can backflow to endanger the water supply into your home or worse, the entire plumbing system.
To prevent such infiltration issues, outdoor spigots should have anti-siphon accessories downstream before usage.
An anti-siphon valve or faucet function via integrated check valves permitting only one-way forward water flow. If negative pressure begins pulling water backward, an automatic spring-loaded stopper engages to block reverse movement. Such built-in safeguards prove critical for garden hoses left sitting in dirty buckets or drainage ditches.
By installing inexpensive anti-siphon valves as addons or swapping legacy spigots for new integral vacuum breaker models, homeowners remain proactively protected against backward contamination siphonage events.
7. Outdoor Showers
Constructing an open-air oasis for washing away dirt, chlorine, or sweat proves easily achievable using weatherproof outdoor shower spigots.
Purpose-designed for exterior installation, a heavy-duty outdoor shower faucet uses corrosion-resistant metals and precisely adjustable directional shower heads. This enables custom spray coverage for rinsing any tall or hard-to-reach areas.
For comfort, outdoor shower flows can be adjusted mid-shampoo to keep the eyes soap-free. This is the reason why most outdoor shower handles and valves remain conveniently within reach.
Temperature controls also allow tweaking mix ratios of pre-plumbed hot and cold water lines. However, exercise wisdom by connecting anti-siphon backflow valves upstream and draining supply pipes before winter’s first freeze.
8. Outdoor Kitchen/Greenhouse Faucets
Chefs designing ultimate alfresco dining destinations will adore specialized outdoor kitchen faucets mimicking indoor sinks. These specialized outdoor kitchen faucets are ideal for washing dishes, rinsing vegetables, and filling pots and pans.
For these types, heavy-duty fixtures crafted from solid brass hold up better long-term than stainless steel against corrosive elements like UV rays, humidity, and bugs. Articulated swing-arm spouts with hand sprayers simplify rinsing heaping platters or wiping clean prep surfaces sans carrying everything inside.
Greenhouse gardeners too should install durable water spigots inside their structures for convenient irrigation and fertilization. Opt for corrosion-proof metals over plastic models prone to rapid brittleness and sunlight degradation.
Whether crafting boutique backyard bistro spaces or nurturing nature’s botanical beauty indoors, sturdy brass-bodied outdoor kitchens and greenhouse faucets withstand years of operational service come rain or shine!
Choosing the Right Outdoor Spigot
When evaluating the myriad outdoor spigot varieties available, there are several factors to consider beyond cost.
Assessing intended applications and home-specific considerations like regional climate helps narrow suitable selections. Prioritizing these aspects first guides the outdoor spigot options.
So, what are the other factors to consider? Let’s take a look at them:
Climate and Freezing Temperatures
The most hazardous threat to any outdoor spigot remains freezing damage from plummeting seasonal temperatures.
In northern regions seeing regular winter weather below 32°F, selecting freeze-resistant spigots becomes imperative to prevent ruptures when internal water contents expand.
Specially designed freeze-proof models incorporate extended stem valves that transfer the closure point indoors away from the cold exterior. Many also angle bodies to encourage drainage.
However, areas lacking sub-freezing averages may safely install standard anti-siphon spigots using the basic winterizing protocol for shutdowns. This saves costs over needlessly complex freeze-proof spigots.
So, evaluate projected low temps and make insulation, drainage, or heat tracing modifications to protect ordinary spigots if simple indoor draining won’t suffice against rare cold snaps.
Needed Water Pressure
Desired water pressure levels largely influence equipment options too. Light-duty fixed spray irrigation requires far less volumetric output versus filling a 60,000-gallon pool or power-cleaning long driveways. Exceeding flow capacities strains internal supply line diameters, risks pump burnout or leakage elsewhere.
When anticipating significant high-volume demand, a single spigot proves insufficient. Adding multiple bibs distributed at usage points prevents bottlenecking supplies.
Alternatively, some spigots accommodate attaching heavy-duty hoses with built-in pressure regulators to safely divert loads gradually.
Carefully calculate intended gallons-per-minute rates before purchasing specialty high-flow fittings claiming more output than infrastructure supports. Getting this right protects plumbing longevity.
Budget and Durability
Outdoor spigots range tremendously in pricing largely influenced by housing materials.
Zinc or aluminum models suffice temporarily for light seasonal usage. However, heftier brass and stainless-steel spigots have operated reliably for decades despite heavy utilization or abrasive elements.
Generally, investing extra upfront on superior metals saves longer-term via reduced repairs and replacements.
Of course, longevity expectations must realistically align with maintenance dedication over time too. Those unable or unwilling to periodically inspect aging compression valves for leaks can settle on cheaper chrome-coated spigots.
Then, homeowners who take long weekend escapes need options durable enough to overlook stretches. While you are at it, also compare repair tool access and replacement complexity for each model under consideration beyond just product lifespan claims alone.
Style to Match Home
Lastly, don’t undervalue how prominently spigots accentuate your overall home aesthetics, especially near main entries or walkways.
Traditional countryside homes deserve accenting with vintage cross-handle pumps or porcelain lever spigots matching historical architectural tones. Contemporary urban cottages feel best fit with minimalist square paddle spigots color-matched to modern siding and trim hues.
For the most naturalistic, harmonious look, consider sinking bibs near landscape beds or rocky surroundings to help with concealing utilitarian appearances.
Just take care to map any underground pipelines first to avoid later excavation mishaps! In short, select spigot designs cohesively blend with, not distracting from, intended environmental design themes and color pallets.
Selecting the ideal outdoor spigot involves careful consideration of climate, usage, and aesthetics. When choosing a type of outdoor faucet or spigot, you’d basically want to start by determining your winter low temperatures.
Freeze-proof faucets become essential in northern regions prone to sub-zero cold, preventing ruptures from expanding ice crystals. Basic anti-siphon models appropriately winterized before shutdown can sufficiently service warmer southern climates if freezing is rare.
Next, you’d want to estimate the intended water volumes needed. Light gardening allows modest flow taps. However large properties may require multiple high-capacity spigots to supply sufficient pressure washing or irrigation coverage demands. Avoid overtaxing narrow supply lines or straining well pumps when planning flow rates.
Finally, choose fixture finishes complementing your home style. Rustic country houses deserve vintage cross handles in aged brass or nickel. While modern urban lofts feel best fit with matte or brushed steel handles.
Ultimately, balancing durability, maintenance needs, and visual appeal helps narrow selections suiting both form and function for years.