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Outside Sillcocks/Spigots

Outside Sillcocks/Spigots

  • Plumbing Services

Is the beautiful weather we’re experiencing now tempting you to bring out the hose? We want to offer a brief word of caution when using your outside sillcocks or spigots for the first time after winter.

Years ago, before winter and before frostproof sillcocks were being installed, homeowners would have to shut off water to outside spigots and drain the line of water in order to prevent any freezing of pipes. If an older style faucet would freeze and burst during the winter, water might not leak immediately as long as it remained frozen.  However, water would start leaking as the piping warmed up and thawed.

Modern sillcocks and spigots

Today, most older sillcocks and spigots are being replaced with frostproof sillcocks. Frostproof sillcocks don’t need draining before winter due to the design, making one less thing homeowners have to worry about. Frostproof sillcocks look and operate the same from the outside, but have the shut-off mechanism further inside the piping, away from the outside wall. In addition, they drain out naturally when the valve is off.

This configuration does prevent frozen pipes and fewer worries, but it is not a guarantee against freezing and bursting. For example, if you leave a hose attached to the outside faucets during winter, or the sillcock was installed without a proper pitch, water stuck in that section of piping can freeze and burst. If that occurs, you will not notice the leak right away. Even on a warmer day after the pipes thawed, a frostproof sillcock will not show signs of leaking.

 

Remember, a frostproof sillcock only leaks when it is on. It is very important you are aware that you will only notice a problem when you use the faucet. This can cause a major problem such as flooding and a lot of property damage to your home because water will be running into your basement, crawlspace, sometimes behind walls and in ceilings depending on the location of the sillcock. This can go on for hours and water can be leaking unnoticed while you’re washing the car, tending to your garden, or whatever chore you are doing with the hose. Remember, you’re outside.

Our advice

Here’s our advice for the first time you use the water outside after winter. Leave the water on but go check inside or have someone else check inside for any signs of trouble. A frostproof sillcock that may have burst over the winter will be a major leak.  You should be able to detect it quite quickly. You may be able to hear water running or spraying in a wall or ceiling if drywall is covering the valve. Other things to look for is water accumulating in the basement or crawlspace, or if you notice weak pressure at the end of your hose this could be an indication of a burst pipe.

The last thing you want is to come inside after enjoying a beautiful day only to discover as you were watering on the outside of your home, your basement got a watering as well.

If you experience any issues with your outside faucets or need assistance with any other plumbing needs, call Quality Plumbing service immediately at 630-227-0200.  Our friendly and courteous customer service representatives will be happy to schedule an appointment.

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