Your vacation home's plumbing may not seem like it needs a lot of care, but when you leave at the end of the summer and go back to your normal home, problems can occur in the pipes while you're away. Without winterizing your property, you may return next year to find that you need help from a plumber. This FAQ is designed to address this issue and help you prepare your home for time spent away during the colder months of the year.
What does it mean to winterize your vacation home's plumbing?
When you winterize your vacation home's plumbing, you prepare the plumbing for months of disuse and possible freezing conditions. Plumbing that is not protected from cold temperatures in the winter can burst, causing a flood of water and hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. In addition, when plumbing is not used for many months, the standing water in drain P-traps may evaporate, allowing sewer gases to escape into the home. Winterizing your vacation home's plumbing will prevent these problems from occurring, so that your home will be safe to use when you return.
What can you do to winterize the plumbing?
To winterize your vacation home's plumbing, take the following steps:
- Turn off the water and drain the pipes. Turn off the main water supply to the house, then drain the water in the pipes by opening up each faucet in the house, starting with the lowest faucet on the property.
- Fill the P-traps with anti-freeze. Pour RV anti-freeze down each drain in the house. This will prevent water in the P-traps from freezing and bursting.
- Cover each drain. Covering each drain with a plastic drain cover can prevent the water in the drain from evaporating. Cover each toilet with plastic wrap to prevent the water from evaporating from the toilet.
- Turn off the water heater and drain it. Turn off your water heater, then close the cold water supply valve (located on the pipe feeding into the top) to the unit. Finally, hook up a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the unit and drain the water into a drain or a bucket.
Finally, just before you leave your home, turn on the heat to 55 degrees. This will help prevent the inside of your vacation home from reaching freezing temperatures and will protect any pipes that still have standing water inside of them. For more information about how you can winterize your vacation home's plumbing this summer, talk to a reputable plumber in your area, like one from Stephens Plumbing And Heating Inc.