A hose valve controls the flow of water from a pipe out to the valve and usually into a garden hose. Turning the handle of the hose valve allows the water to flow out from the valve, or shuts it off to prevent any more water from running out. The most common location for a hose valve is on the outside wall of a home. A hose valve can be turned on to fill a bucket, or used after a garden hose is attached to run water through the hose for use. The hose valve may also be referred to as a faucet or a spigot.
The most common hose valve blocks the water inside it with a wedge-shaped piece attached to the knob. After screwing a garden hose onto the end of the valve, the handle is turned which lifts the wedge out of the way and allows the water to flow through. The further the wedge is lifted, the more room the water has to pass through the valve, thus increasing the water pressure. Twisting the handle closed blocks the flow of water. When the valve is open, the water will run out the end of the hose unless a hose attachment has been added to stop the water flow.
The outdoor valve is usually connected to the house's main water line, or a separate water line built specifically for the hose. Typically, a separate line is only needed when the valve is too far away to connect to the house. A pipe connected to the outside valve is attached to a main pipe in the plumbing of the house.
Potential problems resulting from the installation of a hose valve include leaking either from the valve or the indoor pipes and bursting pipes during the cold winter months. Due to the common problem of these pipes bursting, the frost-free outdoor faucet was invented for places with cold temperatures. This valve keeps the pipes in a home from bursting through a simple process.
Since pipes burst when the water inside them freezes, the frost-free outdoor faucet empties the water out of the pipe when it is not in use, and eliminates the risk of frozen water and a ruptured pipe. When the home owner needs to use the valve, he simply turns the handle and the water is sent back through the pipe. Once he is finished, the pipe is once again emptied of water to prevent freezing.