There are several ways to make your plumbing freeze-proof. In this plumbing how-to we will provide you with information on two different ways to protect your home and its plumbing from freeze-damage depending on the situation. The first method described is is best used to protect the plumbing from freezing in homes that are occupied during winter months and the second method is best used when the property is vacant for a longer period of time.
One way to protect your home from any damage resulting from freezing is to regulate and maintain a constant temperature to prevent your plumbing from freezing.
Winterization with the ‘heat on’
Some easy ways to winterize your home when the heating is going to be 'on' are to choose a safe temperature to keep the heating thermostat on, to make sure to turn off parts of the water piping you won’t be needing, and finding the areas of your home that are prone to freezing and add sufficient insulation to those parts of your home, to keep your plumbing safe.
- Find a safe temperature setting for the thermostat.
- Drain your home’s plumbing fixtures, tanks, faucets that you won’t be needing.
- Add sufficient insulation to pipes is outer walls, in attics and under the floorboards.
- Increase the warm air flow to parts of the home that are normally not heated.
The other way, which is often uses for homes that are unoccupied during the winter, is to provide sufficient insulation and to remove as much water as possible from the main areas that are prone to freezing.
You can prevent a lot of damage to your property by taking proper preventive measures to make you plumbing more freeze proof in the parts of your home that are affected by the cold weather the most. This is particularly useful if the home is vacant over the winter months but even the plumbing system of an occupied home can freeze if the conditions are ‘right’. Here are some of the places that are usually affected or require some extra attention to freeze proof your home.
Outdoor faucets: One of the first parts of your plumbing that will freeze is an outdoor faucet. Any hose bibs or spigots on the outer walls of your home will probably freeze when temperatures drop below 32° F. New types outdoor faucets can be installed with a longer stem that are generally considered frost-proof. But older types of faucets require a shutoff valve.
Plumbing pipes: Both the supply pipes and horizontal drain pipes that are routed through parts of your home with no heating or heat supply nearby can in the event of extreme cold weather start to freeze. Think of pipes that run along the outer walls of attics, basements and crawl spaces.
Winterization with the ‘heat off’
To winterize your home and prevent any frost damage even when the heat is turned off during winter, there are a few things you can do to keep you plumbing pipes from freezing.
- Close your home’s main water supply.
- Drain your home’s water supply pipes.
- In case you have a water pump and pressure tank, turn off the water pump’s power supply.
- Drain your home’s plumbing fixtures, tanks, faucets.
- Drain your home’s the hot water tank.
- Turn off your home’s heating system.
In both cases it is best to leave some water in the toilet bowl, this will help to keep the trap sealed and to prevent any foul smelling sewer-gas from entering your property.
- How to Find & Fix the Spots where Water Pipes are Likely to Freeze (inspectapedia.com)
- How to Prepare your Plumbing for the Winter Months to Come (newportbeachhvac.com)