Welcome back to another entry here on the Economy Plumbing Services blog! Earlier this month we talked a lot about insulating pipes, doing your best to get them in shape so they don’t freeze over or cause any energy inefficiency in the home. This time around, we want to talk about a larger scale project that you should undertake whenever you’re going to be leaving your home vacant. If the title didn’t give it away, we’re going to tell you how to winterize your plumbing!
Freezing temperatures and pipes mix about as well as oil and water. When things freeze, they expand. When water that is sitting in a pipe freezes, it expands past the size of the pipes, often breaking through the material entirely which can cause leaks, and flooding. If you are in your home for the winter, using the water regularly as normal, then you don’t have to worry about the possible bursts as much, that water isn’t being allowed to sit and freeze. If you have a cabin, or are away for the winter, you need to winterize! It’s more than just about preventing water from cracking pipes and flooding, it also prevents your home’s water fixtures from being damaged.
How To Winterize Your Plumbing
First you got to start with a plan! Figure out and make an inventory of all your homes plumbing. The valves, the taps, fixtures. You want to make sure that as you go through the rest of these steps for winterizing that you are hitting each possible place water might be sitting. Once you have a full accounting of all the taps, faucets, etc., you are ready to get started in earnest.
First, shut off the main water valve to your home. Then, go to your water heater and water pumps and turn those off as well. If you leave your water heater on while there is no water flowing into it can cause damage to the heating elements and leave you with a bigger repair come spring!
With the water off, it’s time to go around and open up all the drain valves and taps throughout your home. Check each off your list as you go through emptying the remaining water left in the pipes. You’ll want to leave all the valves and taps open for the duration you’re going to be gone. Check to see if the sinks or tubs have drain traps. If so, adding antifreeze can prevent the water from freezing and cracking the traps.
Flush your toilets, removing as much water from the tanks and bowls as possible. If for whatever reason you can’t get al the water out, add a little bit of antifreeze to prevent the water from freezing and breaking the toilet.
Head back to your water heater and get ready to drain it. If your unit doesn’t have a floor drain with it, you may need to get a hose to drain the water out of the heater and your home without making a mess.
Proper Pipe Precautions
While you are working around your home, make sure to take the time to examine pipes that might be especially at risk. Any pipes on the exterior of your home, outside of walls or where they enter the walls.
If your walls have any cracks, repair them. The less cold air that gets into your home the less you have to worry about. If you there are gaps in the wall where the pipes enter, fill it with caulk or another insulating material. Make sure to follow our tips on insulating your pipes and you should be in great shape this winter!
Need help? Give us a call! Our plumbing experts are happy to help, we have the experience, know-how, and attitude to get the job done right the first time!
Remember, if water flows to it or through it, we do it!