The winterization process for your plumbing is nowhere near as difficult as you may believe.
A lot of simple steps can be performed that will protect your property during inclement weather. Since your plumbing is the source of a lot of potential issues, annual maintenance should be performed to keep your home safe from disaster.
Here are a few easy steps to take.
Search for leaks. Even a tiny one can be disastrous once the weather grows cold. Carefully examine all of your pipes for leaks when you perform the insulation check above. An insulated pipe with no leaks should be safe during even the worst weather.
Next, take the time to determine the location of your water main shut-off valve. If your pipes do burst, quickly turning off the valve is the difference between a modest amount of damage and a devastating amount of property lost. It’s never fun to think about minimizing damage, but a quick reaction in a crisis can save a fortune. Also note that if several people live in your home, each of them should know the location of the water main.
Another ridiculously easy step that few people consider is to shut your garage doors and close your crawlspace areas. Arctic winds can enter the crawl space and freeze the pipes.
Shutting the garage doors protects your water heater, assuming it is located in the garage.
One of the most important steps literally takes less than five minutes. Simply disconnect your garden hoses from the attached faucets. This step allows the water in the spigot to drain. If you leave the hose attached, the water remains in the pipe, which can lead to serious issues.
Once the weather grows cold, the trapped water in the pipe will freeze and expand. If this does not lead to the immediate bursting of pipes, you may not even realize that you have a problem until you turn on your hose for the first time in the spring. By that point, the damage will be done.
After you have disconnected the appropriate hoses, consider installing an insulated faucet jacket. By doing this, you protect the faucets in the exterior of your home as well as the pipes leading into your house.
Finally, keep an eye on your water pressure. If it diminishes, that is often the tell-tale first sign of restricted water flow. If you have that sort of issue, your pipes could be frozen. Proceed with caution while investigating any potential problem spots in the pipes.
PREPARING YOUR OUTDOOR FEATURES
The favorite place of many homeowners is their backyard. This is the canvas where individual creativity is expressed. Whether you have a fountain, a pool, a hot tub, or automatic sprinkler in your backyard, care must be taken to protect your pride and joy. Winterizing your sprinkler system is not hard. There are, however, several tasks that must be completed. None of them is difficult or timeconsuming. Simply employ the following checklist, and you will be finished in no time.
• Assuming that you have an underground irrigation system in place, the first step is to drain your sprinkler system of all water. The reason is the same as above. Any lingering water in the pipes can be dangerous. That liquid can expand and freeze, eventually causing the pipes to burst and sprinkler heads to explode. Draining them is a simple safeguard against such a catastrophe. • Is your sprinkler system operating on a timer? If so, a lot of the previous work that you have done above can be negated if you forget to deactivate your timer. When you perform the faucet tasks above, take an extra moment to turn off your timer, and you should be fine during the winter season. • If you are a heartier DIYer, a more aggressive solution is to blow out the remaining water in your irrigation system. Rent a compressor at a home improvement store. Shut off the water supply temporarily. Use the compressed air to blow out any remaining fluid in the system. Once you have removed all water, apply insulation along the exterior piping to protect it from extreme winter temperatures. • For hot tub maintenance, the steps are obvious. Release the connecting plugs. Then, open the drains and perform an eyeball test to make sure that no water is left in the drains. Forgetting to do this can lead to frozen pipes, which can ruin your entire spa system. • Pool owners should start with the basic step of draining the water. Afterward, drain the equipment as well. All heaters, filters, pumps, and chlorinators should be dry to avoid any concerns about freezing. Since eliminating all water can be problematic, consider using a shop vacuum or air compressor to blow out these liquids in the same manner as above. After you have finished drying your pool or hot tub, insulate all appropriate piping and backflow systems to protect against harsh conditions.
Realistically, most of the outdoor winterization steps listed in this section can be summarized as “water is bad and must be destroyed before freezing weather arrives.”
While the steps above initially seem overwhelming, the truth is that many of them can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. Do not feel an obligation to do everything at once. Instead, spend a few minutes each day crossing a couple of these items off your to-do list. In a short period of time, you will have finished winterizing your home. In the process, you will bask in the glow of self-achievement, knowing that you have taken care of your home and your family.