Sillcock, hydrant, outdoor faucet and hose bib all can mean the same thing. I’m not sure why we plumbers have so many different terms for the same thing. But man do we. In this case we’re talking about your hose connection that is mounted on the exterior of your home. In Lees Summit, Missouri we have to be aware of these every winter. If we don’t remove the hoses before the first hard freeze they’ll burst. A sillcock is a faucet that is mounted through the sill plate of your home. It gives you fresh drinking water to either drink, wash your car or water your garden.
A standard sillcock is just a faucet with a handle and spout that’s mounted on the exterior of a house.
The water pipe that feeds the faucet is just inside the wall. With this type of sillcock there needs to be a water shutoff on the inside of the house. This allows it to be turned off and drained in the winter. If it isn’t, then it and the water pipe to which it’s attached will freeze and burst. You’ll usually only find these on older homes or homes in warmer climates.
Frost Free Sillcock
A frost free sillcock is also a faucet that provides water to the exterior of the home. It doesn’t need a water shut off, however. They have an extended stem that shuts the water off inside the home where the air is conditioned year round.
When you turn it off a small amount of water will drain from it leaving no water exposed to the cold. The newer styles will have a cap on the top of the spout called a vacuum breaker. This protects the city drinking water supply if you have a garden hose attached that’s connected in some way to cleaners of fertilizers. If there’s a fire near by the fire department will use so much water fighting it that the city water pressure will be depleted. This will create a siphoning action from your home that could taint the drinking water supply. The vacuum breaker also aides the water draining from the sillcock when turned off.
There are some alternative sillcocks that serve some very important homeowner needs. My favorite is the Woodford model 19 anti-burst faucet. It’s designed with a pressure relief valve. If it starts to freeze and pressure begins building, it’ll allow water to flow backwards into the water piping.
Other options are the hot and cold sillcock. If you prefer hot water to wash your car this will come in very handy. It comes with separate hot and cold handles but just one spout. Another one comes with a large quarter turn handle. This is a good option for older customers. And commercial buildings love the security key style sillcock. You can’t turn it on without the key.
So if you’re in need of a new sillcock remember there are options. Consider them before having yours replaced. You can also just call Advocate Master Plumbing. We understand your plumbing needs and will offer you your best options. And for more information about all types of faucets visit our faucets service page. And we are also Lee’s Summit premier sump pump repair specialists!