Insulated covers that are designed to cover outside faucets are very common.
For inspectors they can eat up a lot of time getting them off to test the faucets. Some can be removed in a few seconds, but many have long threaded rods with wing nuts that must be unthreaded for an eternity to get them on and off. This is not a fun part of the inspection when it is 20 degrees outside.
It seems that the word about these covers has gotten out so well, that most people think that all outside faucets should have them. I find that I am just as likely to see them on faucets that are “frost-free,” as I am to find them on outside faucets that might freeze without them.
In modern construction all outside faucets should be frost-free type (if you live in an area where freezing can happen) and have an anti-siphon component as well. In this first picture we can see a cover that is poorly installed and that will not protect the faucet from freezing at all—–and this is a type that needs protecting.
Installing these covers on faucets that do not need them will not likely create any real problem other than annoy the inspector that has to take them all off to test the faucets—-and be a waste of money and natural resources. S
While the previous picture does nothing for the faucet and possible freezing of pipes, it did make a wonderful home for some lucky birds.
Another point to be made about outside faucets is that whenever possible non-frost-free type faucets should have an interior shut-off so that the section that runs to the outside can be drained of any water that is inside the pipe. Tiny leaks at either type of faucet can result in ice build-up “inside” the frost free type cover and the covers should be checked in freezing weather. This is another good reason to not use these covers on faucets that do not need them.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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