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Question DetailsAsked on 3/10/2017

I turned on my water hose outside and water started pouring under my kitchen sink into my floor. What caused this?

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2 Answers


Assuming the hose bib is just outside the kitchen, I would guess you have a "frostless" hose bib but left the hose connected, or if in area where it has gotten really cold (say below 0-10 degrees) it was left exposed and not covered with an insulated bonnet, so the water in the hose and/or faucet froze and ruptured the faucet outer sleeve.

If the water were running all the time, would more likely be from a normal hose bib that froze and split the pipes, causing a continuing leak - at least once it thawed out - or even a faucet pipe in the wall which split.

But since in your case evidently it only happened/ happens when the faucet is turned on, then the part of the faucet "upflow" of the shutoff point inside is still good, but the part between there and the hose thread and handle (typically 8-30" section) that the water flows through from the shutoff point to the actual threaded bib had water in it (most commonly from leaving the hose connected, or sometimes from a slow drip in the shutoff washer or seat or installation at the wrong angle so it did not drain out when turned off) which froze and split the copper piping. Here is a diagram of what a frostless hose bib typically looks like - you can see that the actual shutoff point is well into the house so it will stay thawed, and the part from there to the outer face of the wall is normally empty of water when the faucet is turned off (if there is no hose or cap on it to retain the water in it) -

Ideally, there should be a dedicated shutoff valve right upstream of it which can be shut off if it does split, or preventatively each winter when it is winterized - but only the better plumbers not pinching every dime does that - rarely required by code in some very cold areas.

And of course don't turn that faucet on till fixed.

The fix - replace the frostless hose bib (also known as a frostless sillcock) - sometimes the plumber has been nice and installed it with a threaded connection which you can just unthread and replace (with the water supply to it turned off first of course) - but commonly it is soldered (the guts have to be unthreaded and taken out while soldering or the rubber parts will be ruined).

Obviously, if not a DIY plumber, then Plumbing is your Search the List category to find someone to do this. Typically about $20-100 for the part (I recommend Woodford or Watts brands, from mid to higher end of that range) and typically minimum service charge of $75-350 for the plumber labor (usually around $150 plus or minus $50 in most of country). Plus maybe up to a couple hundred $ for a Handyman to repair drywall damage and repaint if he has to go through visible drywall to repair.

One thing on the repair - if there is room having the plumber put in a shutoff ball valve (if pipe is accessible) just upstream of it will only cost about $10-15 more, and make sure as much of the pipe as possible is accessible to indoor heat - don't insulate the heck out of the pipe (except at the outer wall end) - better to leave it able to get heat from inside the house.

One other thing for this and for pipes under the sink - good idea (ibear in mind pet and child safety with regards to what is under there) to leave an under-sink cabinet door open anytime the temperature outside is below about 0-10 degrees, and certainly when subzero, unless your sink has a heater vent or radiator under the sink.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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