Quality Plumbing Services

OUTSIDE SILLCOCKS/SPIGOTS

February 24, 2017 · No Comments

If you are tempted by the very early beautiful weather we are experiencing, to drag out the hose and wash the winter grime off the car, hose off the driveway, or for any other reason, we just wanted to offer a brief word of caution when using your outside sillcock or spigot 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 an outside spigot 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.

 

Today … most older style sillcocks and spigots are being replaced with frostproof sillcocks. Frostproof sillcocks do not need to be drained prior to winter due to the design which is one less thing the homeowner has 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, and drains out naturally when the valve is turned off. This configuration does prevent frozen pipes and less worries, but it is not a guarantee against freezing and bursting. For example, if a hose was left attached to the outside faucets during winter, or the sillcock was installed without proper pitch, water can remain trapped in this section of piping and could 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.

 

Keep this in mind … a frostproof sillcock will only leak when it is turned it 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 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 … 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 the valve is covered up with drywall. 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, you watered your basement 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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