outside water softener

I have a house that came with a outside water softener that has digital controls. It's located just west of Houston, Texas. One water softener guy told me to cover the controls with plastic for freezing weather in winter. Normally we get a few days below freezing or otherwise 35 F or so in winter. I know gas stations have digital controls and they don't bother to cover them in winter so I'm wondering if it's really necessary? The old owner never mention this to me either. He said just add salt and let it do it's thing when I bought the home in early summer. Advice ???
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yo...Roy...How will covering the controls with plastic keep it from freezing and bursting?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/1/2011 12:47 PM, Doug wrote:

If I were told to cover it in the winter I would be doing so to prevent it from freezing and bursting, absolutely _nothing_ to do with "digital controls", which is a whole different story. Get the manufacturer, model number and do a google search for the manufacturer. Call or email them and ask if it is made to be left outside.
I'm curious, is it were it gets rained on or under some type of roof?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug wrote:

If it's made for outside use, I'd leave it alone.
As for freezing, doubtful. Extremely doubtful.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

They aren't called _Liquid_ Crystal Displays for nothing. Plastic won't do much unless you are hoping that the unit would be warmed enough by sun on black plastic during the day that it won't freeze the head at night. I'd also be a bit concerned about the uninsulated supply and return lines.

Gas pumps are designed for outdoor use, to temps well below freezing. You can bet they have heaters or power supplies that throw off enough heat to prevent freezing.

Well, he wouldn't, would he?

Depends on your tolerance for risk. Even though you live in a pretty temperate climate, I'd look at relocating to a garage or building a shed over it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/1/2011 6:06 PM, Robert Neville wrote:

Are you implying that the liquid crystal might freeze?

To prevent _what_ from freezing? The gasoline?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I noticed the two verticle lines are already insulated ... I assume these are the supply and return lines. I don't have the brand handy but I can get it. It is located just beyond the roof line where it can get rained upon. I decided to insulate (cover with plastic) the controls just to be safe. Not sure it's needed but it wasn't that difficult to do. The tank on which the controls sit up is metal and silver (aluminum???) and the brine tank is heavy plastic and full of salt right now.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

That's a stupid place to put it. You would not be able to do that in the north. Either move it indoors, or build a small box or shed around it and when the temps drop below freezing, turn on a heat lamp or electric space heater in there.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 01 Dec 2011 21:13:54 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@home.com wrote:

I would have preferred in the garage if I had my choice (tho this isn't heated but does offer some protection) but I guess for whatever reason, they assumed Houston temperatures weren't as extreme or as long as up north so outside was okay. It has survived about 4 years so far but I just don't know if the old owner covered it in winter as I just did. BTW, I used to live in NY so I remember the winters well.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As others have said, I'd be more worried about the tank and pipes freezing and bursting than the display. I don't know how cold it get there, but I'd look at some weather records going back 100 years. Then decide the chances and how lucky you feel. I guess as long as someone will be available to cover it at the last minute, if necessary, you could rely on that.
As for the LCD display, I would not be worried about that. There are lots of them exposed to temps far lower than you are considering. For example, I have a pool heater that sits outside in single digits and nothing has happened to it. You might not be able to read it if it gets too cold, but I doubt that's a concern. Also consider all the notebook PCs, cell phones and similar widgets. Plenty of them have been left in cars overnight in some very cold places and survived.
I would think the bigger problem with the LCS display would be that being exposed to the elements the typical plastic covering will take a beating, get cloudy, cracked, etc. But since it's survived 14 years, I guess it's pretty durable. More durable than the pool heater display, as that is about 7 years old and it's cloudy and cracking.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.