It’s easier to ignore or postpone plumbing maintenance even though it’ll probably result in significant damage in the long run. Here are four simple winterization plumbing tips that are sure to save you some major headaches later:
1. Winterize outdoor fixtures.
Outdoor plumbing such as a barbecue sinks, outdoor kitchens, aboveground hose faucets, and lake dock fixtures need to be winterized. Depending on the system, this is usually as simple as turning the water off, opening up the valve, and draining the fixture of water. Gravity will cause the pipes to drain by themselves if the fixtures are installed correctly.
If the fixtures are installed improperly they will not drain as described above. Instead, you will need to drain it by using an air compressor, making sure the water is turned off before you do so, to push out any remaining water. Remember: water expands as it freezes, and this can cause pipes to burst.
If you have a source of standing water, such as a outdoor sink or drain, you can use some RV antifreeze to prevent the water from freezing and causing a burst pipe. (For safety, make sure to follow all indications on the bottle. Antifreeze should never enter fresh water supplies or be placed in an area accessible to animals/pets.)
2. Disconnect all hoses from faucets.
Whether your hydrant is in the yard or attached to the wall on the side of your house, you must absolutely make sure that the hose is completely disconnected. You should never leave hoses connected to any hydrant if there is potential for freezing temperatures.
3. Close crawlspace vents.
There are crawlspaces in many homes in the local area. It is important to close off any vents to the crawlspace to prevent freezing air from entering. Access doors or hinged doors, if not properly sealed, can allow those freezing temperatures to penetrate the crawlspace and expose the plumbing and pipes to the cold temperatures.
4. Remove debris from drainage.
Leaves, acorns, and other debris can be a hassle during the fall. Make sure to keep all floor and ground drains cleared of debris so that they can work properly and effectively. Its very important to keep the area around the drains clear, even if this means sweeping everyday. If we were to get a heavy downpour of rain, the drains need to be at full working potential so that water doesn’t flood up to your door.
If you’re confident enough to do these maintenance tips on your own, we highly encourage it. Otherwise, we would be more than happy to do them during our maintenance visit to your home. If you do not know where your faucet cutoffs are, or you need to use an air compressor to winterize a system, give us a call at (540) 352-4262. We look forward to assisting you.