How much benefit is provided by covering external faucets?

6 Replies

Here in north texas, it's not expected to get much below freezing in the next couple of days and am contemplating heading out to a couple of rentals and covering the faucets with those styrofoam type covers.  Would take probably 2 hours to get it all taken care of (including drive time).

Is it worth it?

If it's not getting much below freezing, I wouldn't worry about it.  Here in Upstate NY, I don't know anyone who uses them, nor anyone that had a consequence for not.

On my primary residence I've had the faucet valves fatigue after repeated deep freezes (sub-zero F) and develop a drip.  I installed a ball valve on the faucet supply line just inside the wall in the basement.  I turn the water off there for the winter, then open up the faucet outside briefly to let some water drain out and air in, which will allow the exterior part of the line to accomodate any ice without breaking.

As an aside, I also do this on all my rental properties as well.  But for a different reason; I pay for the water, and my lease prohibits the use of exterior water at the properties, so I keep the valve off in the basement unless I need it for maintenance/repair.

TLDR: I think you are fine.

Originally posted by @Wesley W. :

If it's not getting much below freezing, I wouldn't worry about it.  Here in Upstate NY, I don't know anyone who uses them, nor anyone that had a consequence for not.

On my primary residence I've had the faucet valves fatigue after repeated deep freezes (sub-zero F) and develop a drip.  I installed a ball valve on the faucet supply line just inside the wall in the basement.  I turn the water off there for the winter, then open up the faucet outside briefly to let some water drain out and air in, which will allow the exterior part of the line to accomodate any ice without breaking.

As an aside, I also do this on all my rental properties as well.  But for a different reason; I pay for the water, and my lease prohibits the use of exterior water at the properties, so I keep the valve off in the basement unless I need it for maintenance/repair.

TLDR: I think you are fine.

Thanks for the thoughts and the background.  Looks like in the next two days, we may see a low of 19.  I may risk it or head out tomorrow to take care of it.  Not convinced it really helps much for this type of situation though.

If you or your tenants have an adaptor on the outdoor faucet to allow two hose connections, you might want to check.  If the valves to the two adapter hose connections were closed before turning off the water, there is water in the adapter that will freeze and your outdoor faucet will crack due to the freeze, once is thaws, you have a flood. I always put the freeze protection on the outdoor faucet, to make sure there is no hose adapters on the faucet , and just for prevention. 

Originally posted by @Mike Freeman :

If you or your tenants have an adaptor on the outdoor faucet to allow two hose connections, you might want to check.  If the valves to the two adapter hose connections were closed before turning off the water, there is water in the adapter that will freeze and your outdoor faucet will crack due to the freeze, once is thaws, you have a flood. I always put the freeze protection on the outdoor faucet, to make sure there is no hose adapters on the faucet , and just for prevention. 

 Thank you for the idea. 

I do it every winter, I live an hour North of Dallas.  A little hassle to save a possibly big hassle.

I've been thinking about this since you started this thread, and I think those insulated covers are worthless.

It's all about thermodynamics.  The only thing that the insulation is doing is slowing down the loss of heat energy, which on the external part of your faucet is very minimal.  Some people might think they keep the faucet a bit warmer because it protects it from the wind, but that is a myth.  "Wind chill" only effects living things, not inanimate objects (e.g. your car).

If you are going to do anything, I would replace your faucets with those "deep valve" ones (or do what I did as described in my earlier post).  Either way, you can do it once and then forget about it.  No more need for situational "triage" due to your local weather.  You can use those modifications all year round.

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