Can't find anything in my big orange book on outdoor faucets. Mine leaks. repair or replace?
Hello Lyla and welcome to the How to Community. Leaks develop when the washer inside of the hose bib fails due to wear, shrinking, and/or cracking.
When a leak develops in a hose bib replacing the entire thing is the better bet. You can at times replace the internals but this requires matching the bib up with a newer one and swapping the guts which could still leave you with leaks.
Before you start any work be sure that water flow to the bib is shutoff. This can be done from the main at the street, or a remote shutoff that controls flow to the bib itself. If you have a remote shutoff it will usually be located somewhere near where the bibs’ water line enters the house.
The next step is to determine whether the bib you have is threaded or soldered. Threaded means the bib is screwed into/onto the water line. Soldered is when the bib is welded to the line using a torch.
Blake did a post a while back covering the difference in greater detail here.
If the bib is a threaded type repair is as simple as detaching the old bib by unscrewing it, picking up a replacement at your local store and threading it back on.
A couple of things to keep in mind are that bibs are sealed to the house against weather and insects using caulking. This will need to be cut away before removal and replaced afterwards. Also hose bibs can seize on the threads (sort of metal to metal fusion) and may require extra force to dislodge. A pro-tip for you is to use a pipe wrench which can be locked down onto the bib and slide a length of pipe over the handle. This will reduce the amount of force you have to exert by increasing your leverage. Lastly when replacing the bib be sure to use teflon tape on the threads.
A soldered bib will require a bit more effort. You will need to cut off the existing hose bib, since it will be most likely flush with the wall, cutting from the line inside may be necessary.
You should now be able to pull the bib free of the wall from the outside. For the repair I recommend soldering a threaded (female or male) to one end of the replacement length of copper and a coupling to the other. The threaded connection will make future maintenance much easier. For instructions on what soldering entails be sure to check out our project guide this can be found here.
Also community member Newf discusses the subject here as well. I hope this helps you get the job done and be sure to get back to us if you have any questions.