DIY Home Garden


5 Excellent Reasons to Keep a Sillcock Key in Your Emergency Kit

Perhaps you’ve never heard of a sillcock key. Still, it could be one of the most vital tools you could use in an emergency or survival scenario.

We all have a basic expectation that water will stream out our faucets when we turn on the taps. But what happens if we ever see the day when the water does not turn on? Hopefully, you have a good supply of water stored–most folks do not. So how can you stay hydrated during an outage?

“Sillcock” is the actual name for a spigot that opens and closes water valves.

Thus, a sillcock key is a “master key” that opens valves at the primary source–particularly in commercial buildings. Residential homes have spigot handles; many commercial sites do not. Construction codes for office buildings, schools, or other institutions frequently require tamper-proof water access points.

Regardless, the sillcock key could help you gain water access in any SHTF situation. This key is affordable, you can order it online, and it could save your life. 

You might also hear some people refer to a sillcock key as the following:

  • Water key
  • Plumber key
  • Hose bib key
  • Utility key
  • Spigot key

Each refers to the same tool. Some cheaper water keys have a single stem, but they will only open one size valve. That is better than nothing, but it might fail you when you need it most. If you decide to invest, look for a four-way key that helps you open a variety of valve sizes. 

Is It Legal to Use a Sillcock Key?

Is this stealing water? Technically, yes, you are taking water that you are not paying for. That’s theft, any way you justify it. In no way do we condone breaking the law. Besides stealing water, you might also be committing other misdemeanors, such as trespassing or utility tampering. That’s why we are framing this in a way that expresses firmly that you should only use this tool in the direst circumstances. 

I’m not a lawyer; clearly, I’m a blogger. I am not dispensing legal advice, just broadly giving you a heads-up. Be sure to check with your attorney if you have any qualms about using a spigot key in an emergency. 

The reasons that you might have the need to use this tool include water system terrorism incidents or natural disasters like a hurricane. These extenuating (and thankfully unlikely) circumstances are literally the only reason most would even consider taking this action.

indoor water storage

Five Excellent Reasons to Keep a Sillcock Key on Hand for an Emergency

Here are five reasons why a sillcock key makes an excellent addition to your emergency kit.

1 – Gain access to drinking water

Water is life. And if the day ever comes that your residential taps don’t deliver it, you’ll make finding a water source a priority.

A sillcock key could allow you to fill your water jug from a water pipe that you cannot get to without this tool. Even if the power is out and the water pump is dormant, you might still find good water in the pipe. Of course, you must treat any water you obtain from such a source to ensure drinking safety or drink it through your survival straw. The spigot key gains you access, but it does not guarantee water quality!

2 – Get water to keep your garden alive and thriving with a sillcock key

In an emergency, you start consuming your short-term foods pretty quickly. If you also have a garden planted to meet your long-term nutrition needs, you know that it needs water. Carry your water jugs to your nearest water source, tap in, and fill your jugs. Yes, this is exceptionally labor-intensive–and possibly impractical. But if your home is nearby the water source, it could be a way to save your gardening efforts, ensuring your long-term food needs.

3 – Use a sillcock key as a self-defense tool

If you invest in a four-way sillcock key, you can use it to defend yourself. Some people respond to bleak circumstances negatively and aggressively. If someone sees you using a key to extract water, they might want it. A sillcock key drops neatly into a pocket, and you can grasp it tightly in your hand, with a stem poking out between your fingers. You can use it to gouge or fight back if needed. (No, not the most pleasant or usual topic we cover, but that’s the reality).


Here’s how to dehydrate foods using three methods: oven, air fryer, and electric dehydrator.

4 – Maintain personal hygiene during an emergency

Of course, staying healthy all the time should be a priority. But during s SHTF situation, the need for good health becomes even more essential. Yes, this would be mentally stressful. However, don’t forget the toll it would take on your physical well-being. Instead of relying on automation, you could perform tasks manually, challenging your body. Placing a priority on personal hygiene can help keep you well, stop you from spreading illnesses, and increase the odds of survival. All worthy goals during such a hard time.

5 – If you have can open a hose bib, you can extract the water to trade for essential goods

You might be one to keep your supplies out of sight of prying eyes–smart! However, in an extended situation, you might need to find a trusted neighbor with whom you can trade for the things you need. If an ongoing emergency breaks the retail grocery supply chain, this could occur faster than you can imagine. Currency becomes meaningless. Instead, people will conduct trades for the necessary items to sustain survival. Of course, water is one such commodity.

Buying a Sillcock Key

When you shop for a water key, look for one that has a nice, sturdy weight, but that won’t weigh you down. These are usually chrome or stainless steel and have a rugged construction to pry open tightly closed valves. 

We chose this one because it opens four of the most commonly used sizes in the United States, and the box contained two keys–one for me, one for my spouse:

sillcock key
Click this image to check the current price and specs on Amazon.

It is not the top-of-the-line spigot key, but it appears to be sturdy enough in the unlikely event we’d ever need it.

One note: I’m an Amazon associate, so if you purchase this, I’ll make a small commission (at no expense to you!). Of course, do your research and find the setup that works best for your unique situation. 

The Bottom Line: A Sillcock Key Could Help You Extract Water and Save Your Life

Whether you call it a plumbers key, water key, or sillcock key, one this is for sure–this tool could potentially save your life. We all rely on clean water for drinking, sanitizing, and growing crops. But how would you supply your household’s water needs in an emergency? This simple spigot key might be the difference between life and death.

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