Do you plan to leave your home (or any other property with water) unattended for any amount of time this winter? Without the regular flow of water and the normal heating of your home when it’s occupied, the risk of your pipes freezing and the potential damage that comes of that increases exponentially.
You probably don’t want to leave faucets running and the furnace cranked up while you’re on vacation or visiting family. So, if you’re leaving your home for any length of time in the winter, take the necessary steps to drain your pipes and eliminate this threat. Fortunately, it’s simpler than you might expect.
Step 1: Cut off the water main
To start, you’re going to want to cut off all water to your property. Ideally, you want to cut the water out at the street, not at your house. Many homes have both options, but you don’t want the pipe in your yard to burst any more than you want the pipes inside your home to burst, so cut it as far out as you can.
Step 2: Open all faucets
Starting at the lowest floor, including the basement if you have running water down there, turn on every single faucet in your home. You’re going to want to run them until they go completely bone dry and drain away.
Step 3: Flush toilets
Of course, water isn’t just fed to your faucets. The next logical step is to flush your toilets until they, too, run dry. Make sure you flush each of them; it may not matter much that you completely drain the tank in the back, if your home interior isn’t going to be freezing cold in your absence, but it’s the safer option and all it takes is time.
Step 4: Run water-based appliances
Anything you can think of in your home that has its own water line needs to be run until you’re satisfied that line has nothing left in it. This means running your washing machine on hot water and cold water until it gets neither; how much water this actually means will of course depend on how long the specific lines feeding your washing machine are. The same goes for your dishwasher.
You can probably ignore your refrigerator if you have an automatic ice maker, as it will drain the water on its own time—empty the ice tray, though, so it has room.
Step 5: Drain water tank
At this point your water heater is probably pretty close to empty, as you’ve been running hot taps everywhere, but if you want to be extra safe go ahead and drain it completely empty according to manufacturer instructions. You’re supposed to do this annually anyway, so it’s as good a time as any to get it done with.
At this point your home is reasonably protected against freezing temperatures, but to be completely secure there are a few additional precautions you can take.
Extra 1: Compressed air
Using about 70psi, you can feed compressed air through a basement faucet or a hose connector outside with all faucets open to blow residual water out. This will get your home very close to freeze-proof, but of course you can go one step further to completely insulate against the winter.
Extra 2: Antifreeze
Run a non-toxic antifreeze anywhere you can’t get rid of all of the water reliably. This means running it down the drains and toilets and, potentially, pumping it into your water heater. This is overkill for most scenarios, but it’s the safest you’re going to get.
Call Hyatt Landscaping for Help Draining Pipes This Winter
Winter unchecked on a home can quickly wreak havoc. Don’t leave your home unattended for the winter before preparing thoroughly, inside and out.
If you’re at a loss, Hyatt Landscaping can help you figure out a plan to keep your home safe while you’re out of town, at (704) 888-5390 or by contacting us online.