Going South? 5 Tips On Winterizing Your Home Plumbing System!
Do you plan on going south for the winter? Before you speed down the highway, you need to prepare your home to withstand the Minnesota winters first. That way, when you return in the spring, your home will be ready for the warmer weather. One thing you need to pay attention to is the plumbing system. Winterizing that system needs to be the top priority.
Remove the Water from the System
Shut off the water source. If you are on municipal water, turn off the water valve. If you have a water pump, turn it off.
Shut off the water heater. The heating elements can burn out if left on when the tank is empty.
Open all the taps and drains. Start at the top of the house or at the furthest point from the water main. Every drain and tap needs to be open to get all the water out of the system.
Use air compressors to remove excess water. Some runs of pipe drain better than others. Use a blast of air to move the water faster.
Empty the water heater. Open the valve at the bottom of the tank to start the water flowing. If there is no floor drain, you will need to attach a garden hose and redirect the water outside the house.
Flush the toilets dry. You want to drain the tank and remove as much water from the bowl as possible. Use towels to soak up as much water as possible.
Add antifreeze to drain traps. Water is likely to remain in sink, tub, shower and toilet traps. Add a bit of non-toxic antifreeze to keep the water from freezing over the winter.
Protect Water Pipes
Even with the water drained, the pipes are still vulnerable to freezing.
Insulate pipes in exterior walls. Wrap pipes with insulation. Be careful to cover the entire pipe. Every point left uncovered is vulnerable to failure.
Seal cracks. Air leaks let cold air into the walls, making pipes vulnerable to freezing. Seal cracks with silicone caulk or expandable spray insulation.
Protect hose bibs. Outside taps should be drained, then covered with a tap cover. This prevents the bib from failing and causing a flood.