Winter is here, and in the home services industry, we know firsthand that the change in seasons affects every part of your home—including your plumbing. While your heater may be equipped to face the season ahead and your electrical system might already be adjusted for the winter months, it’s important not to forget to take care of your plumbing too, lest you end up with frozen and subsequently burst pipes. Keep reading to learn how to winterize your plumbing system, and remember that AAA Service Plumbing, Heating & Electric is available year-round for all your plumbing, drain, and sewer needs.
Follow These Steps to Winterize Your Plumbing Pipes:
- Turn off your main shut-off valve, then turn off your water pump/water heater. This will make sure the heating element in your water heater does not malfunction while there is no water in the system.
- Open up all your drain valves and taps. Make sure to keep a detailed list as you are doing this, so you don’t miss a single one. Closed taps create vacuums, trapping water inside your pipes that can linger there all winter-long. You want your valves and taps to remain open as much as possible during the winter so this does not happen, and the water in your pipes does not freeze.
- Remove any excess water from your pipes. You can do this by blowing the water out with an air compressor or sucking it out with a vacuum hose.
- Find the drain valve in your water heater tank (assuming you do not have a tankless system) and make sure the water is drained completely. If your water heater does not have a floor drain, hook up a rubber hose to it, so you do not end up with a flooding situation as you are flushing out the water. Make sure the water is drained completely, especially any of the water left in your tank’s rubber diaphragm, which is used to build pressure. For extra protection during this step, you may also want to add antifreeze to your heater’s jet pump case.
- Flush your toilets to drain as much water as you can from the tank and the bowl. Once again, if you are not able to drain the water out of your toilet completely, you can use antifreeze to prevent any lingering water from freezing and cracking your toilet.
- Check your sink and tub drain traps for leftover water. Add antifreeze to ensure they do not freeze and crack, just like you did with your toilet.
- Once you have thoroughly drained any excess water in your plumbing system, doing everything you can to prevent freezing inside your pipes over the coming months, start insulating the pipes themselves. You can do this with insulation sleeves or slip-on foam insulation. While it may not be possible to wrap up all your pipes, concentrate on the ones that are most likely to freeze, such as any located on your exterior property. Your hose bibbs/faucets should also be drained and covered, with your hoses stored in a safe place for the duration of winter.