I have winterized hundreds of homes professionally over the years, and I will show you how to winterize your own homes plumbing system in this easy guide. If you winterize your plumbing pipes before cold weather hits, you can turn off, or turn down your homes heating and save a lot of home heating cost over the winter while you are not there.
How to Winterize your Home Plumbing System
Summer homes shouldnt be heating all winter, and if someone isnt home, the heating system could go down and the plumbing pipes could all freeze up. Frozen water pipes cause pipes to break, burst and leak all over, causing huge amounts of damage.
Tools and Materials needed to winterize your home plumbing
To winterize your house properly, you will need the following:
an air compressor, a few gallons of RV antifreeze, an air compressor hose to water hose adapter, a garden hose, a bucket and sponge or hand pump.
Home winterization Step 1) Turn off the main water and drain off the pressure.
Locate the main water valve, usually you can have the city water department come out and shut off the water meter. Or if you on a well, shut the well pump off. Then open all the faucets in the house and let all the excess water pressure out.
Home winterization Step 2) Drain the Water Heater
Next, turn off your homes water heater and connect a garden hose to the drain located at the bottom of the tank.
Connect the air compressor to a hose spigot or laundry valve on the cold side.
Open the drain on the water heater, then turn on the air compressore and blow the pressurized air at around 80 psi into the cold water system.
As the pressurized enters the top of the water heater through the cold inlet, the water will quickly be pushed out the drain valve. Once the water heater is completely drained of water, shut off the drain valve and allow the air pressure to build in the water heater tank. We will be using the water heater tank as a compressed air storage tank to help blow out the rest of the plumbing system.
Home winterization Step 3) Flush all the toilets, and shut off the toilet valves.
Flush all the toilets and let the tanks drain out. Air from the air compressor will start shooting into the tank instead of water. Once air is shooting out, and no more water, shut the shutoff valve to the toilet. Repeat step for each toilet.
Home winterization Step 4) Flush out all the faucets and fixtures
One by one, open up each faucet and let the air pressure push all the water out until air is shooting out of the faucets. Do this for the hot and cold sides of every faucet, do all your hose spigots, your washing machine valves, your icemaker, your dishwasher, your showers, tubs, everything that is on your plumbing system. Once nothing but air is flowing out of all your plumbing faucets, fixtures and valves, you should have completely drained the water pipes of all water.
Repeat step twice or three times, to be sure all the water is out.
Home winterization Step 5) Add anti-freeze to all the traps
Now that the water pipes are winterized, make sure the drain traps wont freeze by pouring a cup of antifreeze down each trap. This includes all the sink traps, bathtub traps, floor drains, laundry drains, etc.
For the toilets, use a handpump or sponge to sop all the extra water out of the tank and bowl, and then pour antifreeze in the tank and fill the bowl. Filling the bowl is important because something needs to seal the trap and keep the sewer gases from escaping into the home.
Once this steps are all complete, turn the heat down to 50 or turn it off completely if you are really confident that it is winterized fully. Make sure to mark the main shutoff valve so that nobody accidentally turns it on and de-winterizes the house! Also tape the toilets shut, so nobody accidentally uses them while the water is off.
Good luck, and happy winterizing!