For most of the country spring is in the air and that means many of us are taking advantage of the longer daylight hours and focusing on spring cleaning projects around the house and yard (a good thing for sure). But just because freezing temperatures are becoming less frequent, this doesn't mean you're safe from water damage caused by frozen pipes or burst sillcocks. So, before you plan on washing the salt brine off your car or watering your perennials, perform an inspection of all your sillcocks and spigots to prevent water damage to your home this spring.
What is a sillcock?
A sillcock is the portion of a water faucet (or spigot) placed at about sill height on the outside of a building that runs inside and is attached to the main water supply. Sillcocks are usually threaded for use with a garden hose, so they are sometimes called hose cocks.
How does water damage occur from sillcocks and spigots?
Water damage from burst sillcocks is potentially very damaging because the water leaks inside the house, not outside. Often times the water damage goes unnoticed because it leaks in between walls and ceiling cavities before affecting living spaces, or you're not inside the home to catch it. As a result, it's not uncommon for people to use their spigots several times before they notice the water damage.
3 common reasons why sillcocks cause water damage:
- The hose sillcock is installed in a bad location. For example, close to an exterior corner of the house that is very difficult to insulate properly.
- The hose sillcock is not properly caulked on the outside or insulated on the inside. This allows drafts to get inside the wall cavity and freeze the sillcock.
- The hose is left attached to the hose bib or sillcock all winter. This prevents the water from draining out and as a result the water freezes inside the sillcock and hose.
How to prevent water damage from sillcocks
- Prior to the onset of winter disconnect all hoses from the hose bib and let all excess water drain from the spigot and hose. Forget to do this? No worries, follow the rest of the tips to make sure you prevent water damage to your home (or catch the leaks early).
- Before turning on your water for the first time, do a visual and hands-on inspection of the interior portion of the sillcock. If you have an unfinished basement, or are able to push up a ceiling tile, you should do this in order to inspect the entire interior portion of the sillcock.
- If your sillcock is installed behind a drywall ceiling or wall, consider installing a removable vent grill so that the sillcocks can be inspected. Also, the vent will allow the warmer inside air to increase the temperature of the joist bay.
- Grab a partner and have them stand inside the basement (or area in the home related to the sillcock location) when you turn on the water for the first time. That way they can look and see if water is leaking or gushing into the home.
If you experience water damage to your home or business
Call AdvantaClean Anytime @ 877.800.2382.
We have 24/7/365 emergency response crews standing by!
Thinking about refinishing your basement? Check out Protect Your Refinished Basement from Water Damage for water damage prevention tips and to see where you can get more bang for your buck on your project!
A big thanks to Randy Moon, Owner of AdvantaClean of DuPage County, for his contribution with this piece. Randy and his crew are indoor air quality experts specializing in water damage cleanup, structural drying, and mold inspections and remediations for homes and businesses in the Chicagoland area.
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