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So what happens if your outdoor tap freezes?

 
Old 02-11-2019, 11:37 AM
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davepl
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Default So what happens if your outdoor tap freezes?

Ok, so I know all the jokes because I've been a plummer for 50 years now. But growing up in Saskacthewan we just let out outdoor taps freeze up, no harm, no foul. Here in Seattle everyone panics and puts those little styrofoam covers over them.

I'm of the opinion that if the tap freezes, it -might- damage the tap itself but it's not going to burst a line unless the pipe freezes in the wall, and I'm not too worried about that at only 15F or so. Sure coid can get in (ie: heat escape) at the tap, but enough to back-freeze the line? I dunno...

As it is my furnace discharge line and dehumidifier drain froze up but that's quite different.

Other than putting the little covers on my faucets, which I guess I'll do anyway, is there any real risk of burst pipes in a modern, insulated, heated home? If there is, can you 'splain me how and why so I'm less iggerent?

Last edited by davepl; 02-11-2019 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:44 AM
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Typically outdoor taps have long valve stems which go about a foot inside the basement or crawl space. They are shut off on the inside. if the end of the tap has a little water and it freezes, no harm no foul. If the crawl space gets cold enough to freeze behind that shut off location, it can cause major damage, but that is rare. Mine is in a crawl space and its been zero degree with minus twenty winds chills for several days in a row and all is well. Add to the above, it if freezes right at the valve its unlikely to burst anything, as bursts occur due to pressurization not ice itself. When ice plugs form, the pressure between the ice plug and another ice plug or valve causes the pressure in the middle to go up dramatically as the ice plug forms and grows. THAT is what bursts pipes. if its at the end, the pressure is relieved at taps that are frequently opened.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:48 AM
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Thanks! So outdoor taps are actually special somehow in that the shutoff mechanism is further inside? A diagram would be handy if anyone knows what to search for (besides outdoor tap)...
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:49 AM
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Here's a pic - I had no idea, so thanks Flange! I also don't think I have that much depth, but I might!


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Old 02-11-2019, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by davepl View Post
Thanks! So outdoor taps are actually special somehow in that the shutoff mechanism is further inside? A diagram would be handy if anyone knows what to search for (besides outdoor tap)...
I live in the mid Atlantic and my last 3 houses did not have freeze proof hose bibs. And I would winterize by turning the shut off inside the house off and then opening up the faucet.

Last edited by Car Fan; 02-11-2019 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by davepl View Post
Ok, so I know all the jokes because I've been a plummer for 50 years now. But growing up in Saskacthewan we just let out outdoor taps freeze up, no harm, no foul. Here in Seattle everyone panics and puts those little styrofoam covers over them.

I'm of the opinion that if the tap freezes, it -might- damage the tap itself but it's not going to burst a line unless the pipe freezes in the wall, and I'm not too worried about that at only 15F or so. Sure coid can get in (ie: heat escape) at the tap, but enough to back-freeze the line? I dunno...

As it is my furnace discharge line and dehumidifier drain froze up but that's quite different.

Other than putting the little covers on my faucets, which I guess I'll do anyway, is there any real risk of burst pipes in a modern, insulated, heated home? If there is, can you 'splain me how and why so I'm less iggerent?


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Old 02-11-2019, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by davepl View Post
Ok, so I know all the jokes because I've been a plummer for 50 years now.
1) What kind of plumbing did you do for Microsoft?

2) Wouldn't someone with 50 years of experience know how to spell "plumber" ???

3) Every year I forget to close the water valve and open my outside tap and other than wrecking a hose and/or nozzle I've never had any issues. But I have a finished/heated basement so that's probably why.

Last edited by FLEXjs; 02-11-2019 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:38 PM
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A self proclaimed *plumber coming to OT to ask a plumbing question...................you can't make this chit up..................well I guess you can
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:58 PM
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Just coil a striped wire around the faucet, plug it into an outlet, then check the water flow. All freezing problems solved.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 96 Vette CE View Post
A self proclaimed *plumber coming to OT to ask a plumbing question...................you can't make this chit up..................well I guess you can
Originally Posted by FLEXjs View Post
1) What kind of plumbing did you do for Microsoft?

2) Wouldn't someone with 50 years of experience know how to spell "plumber" ???
I'll just leave y'all to fight on the line a little longer, you'll tire out eventually!
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by davepl View Post
I'll just leave y'all to fight on the line a little longer, you'll tire out eventually!



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Old 02-11-2019, 01:20 PM
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Move closer to the equator
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:32 PM
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Mcsft has plumbers?
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:35 PM
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In my neck of the woods, the freeze-proof hose bibs are necessary.
A buddy down the street had some sort of quick disconnect adapter on his and didn't actually turn off the water.

A few weeks ago another neighbor drove by and saw water gushing on the east side of his house and they got it shut off without any damage.
About 10 days ago he sent out a mass text asking for people with shopvacs to help get water out of his finished basement.
He had the same thing on the other side and it blew out the ball and water was pouring along the house and into the egress window well.
There is an intake for the sump pump in there, but it was plugged and water came in the window.

I think he learned a lesson the second time.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by davepl View Post
Other than putting the little covers on my faucets, which I guess I'll do anyway, is there any real risk of burst pipes in a modern, insulated, heated home? If there is, can you 'splain me how and why so I'm less iggerent?
ignernt
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Z06PSI View Post
Mcsft has plumbers?
I never said that. Even so, I did have a life before going back to school though. I've worked in hardware (like Ace) for about 10 years, worked in paint stores for a few. Cut window glass which is a bit of an art and I got pretty decent (but nothing like my Dad, who was a virtuoso with a scribe and a break).

Hell, I worked the graveyard shift at 7-Eleven, I'm not proud. I never claimed to be some baller, that's a narrative from someone else - I grew up in a 930 square foot house. I still have my first baseball glove, football, bat, car, and wife. I'm a high school dropout immigrant.

And yes, I can accomplish most plumbing tasks, but am not now, nor have I ever been, nor claimed to be, a professional plumber. But I did just get called out this morning to work with the fire department on a broken pipe, actually. If you guys spent more time asking questions and less trying for lame flames, you'd learn interesting stuff.

Last edited by davepl; 02-11-2019 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by davepl View Post
If you guys spent more time asking questions and less trying for lame flames, you'd learn interesting stuff.


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Old 02-11-2019, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by FLEXjs View Post

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Old 02-11-2019, 02:46 PM
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so you're related to Jake?
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:56 PM
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Just bought a new home, the 2 outside taps do not have a vac break? guess will cover for now.They look like normal taps not frost free.

Had a home inspector no mention of taps? are new homes coded to have FF outside taps?

We have had frost but not frozen, knock on wood(my head)

ps surely a plumber knows of the long stem FF taps.

Last edited by ojm; 02-11-2019 at 02:58 PM.
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