Believe it or not, summer is almost over. Here are a few winterization tips and tricks to make sure your plumbing systems are ready for the rapidly approaching winter season.
- Outdoor Hose Faucets
You should make sure that you’ve winterized the hose faucets on the outside of your home. Each faucet should have a valve that you can turn to shut off the water. Shut off the valve and open up the hose faucet so that all the water drains out of it. Leave the valve open for the duration of the winter so that any remaining water can continue to drain out. If you don’t winterize your hose faucets, you risk the pipe bursting if the water inside it freezes.
If you have to use one of these faucets in the winter, just turn on the water valve and use them as needed. Be sure to follow the same process once you’re finished to prevent them from freezing and bursting.
- Outdoor Showers
Outdoor showers are very common, especially around the Smith Mountain Lake area. There are showers right as you come up from the dock to wash off after leaving the lake. There are different methods for winterization, but most commonly there will be valves to shut the water off. You also need to turn on the shower lever and open the drain so any remaining water can leave the fixture.
- Outdoor/Garage Sinks
If you have an outdoor barbecue or sink in an unheated garage, it also needs to be winterized. You should first shut off the water valve. If there are any side sprayers or handheld sprayers in the faucet, you need to take them completely off because they’ll hold water. Take some RV antifreeze and dump it down the drain to prevent it from freezing.
If you need to use the sink, just turn the water valve back on. Once you’re done, you’ll need to repeat the winterizing process to prevent any water from freezing and bursting the fixture.
- Freshwater Plumbing
Most docks have irrigation plumbing along with freshwater plumbing. You can use a compressor to blow the water out of the pipes. (You can also use the compressor if there’s an ice maker on your dock bar.) If the pipes are installed correctly, you can just shut the water off and open the drain. The slope/grade will allow water to drain with gravity.
If your home has a crawlspace, it’s definitely important to shut the crawlspace vents. They should only be open during the summer. You should also make sure any doors or covers on the opening of the crawlspace are sealed up tightly. It would be helpful if you have any pieces of insulation that you can place in the vents. Any wind that goes into the crawlspace can get onto the pipes and cause them to freeze.
The wellhead (the top of the well) may have above ground plumbing. You need to make sure that the insulation hasn’t gotten wet over the summer. Wet insulation doesn’t have any insulation value, so it should be replaced with dry insulation. This is a useful measure to prevent the wellhead from freezing up.
There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to do all of this yourself since it’s not too hard. If you do need any advice about winterizing your home, we’re here to help. Just contact us online or give us a call at (540) 483-9382.