Beware of Spring Leaks

Published: April 2, 2012

Spring has sprung and so do leaks during this time of year when outdoor watering and washing occurs.

When you turn on your exterior faucets, hose bibbs, spigots, or sillcocks (all common names for the faucet on the outside of your home) for the first time this Spring, be sure to check around the faucet and in the basement for any leaks - even if you have a frost free faucet. This is especially important if you didn't take steps to winterize the exterior faucet before winter set in.

Although "frost-free" or "frost-proof" faucets have been around for many years and significantly reduces the likelihood of causing leaks from a freeze, they aren't flawless and still require winterizing.

If you turn your faucets on during the Spring, remember to drain, remove the hose, and turn off the water supply if temperatures are expected to dip below freezing.

The two most common mistakes that homeowners make are:

  1. The spigot is left turned on when a sprayer is attached to the hose. During a freeze this causes water trapped in the hose and spigot to expand and burst a pipe potentially causing significant water damage.
  2. Over time, the valve inside the sipot is prone to wear and failure. Even small amounts of water that are allowed past the valve can freeze and cause a pipe to burst.

As the ice builds up inside the pipe, an increase in air pressure occurs as that ice occupies a greater volume of the pipe. Once the pipe bursts, a homeowner might only notice a small leak. However, once the exterior faucet is turned on in the spring that small leak becomes a major leak causing damage to the basement, carpet, drywall, etc. Besure to call a licensed, professional PHCC Contractor if you have a leak.