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Man installing faucet cover to protect plumbing from freezing

How Do You Winterize Plumbing in a Vacant House?

The days grow shorter and the cold starts to sink in. Winter weather is here! But before you head out for warmer weather, make sure it’s properly closed up for the winter. The last thing your want is to return in the spring to burst pipes. Even leaving your home mid-winter for a few weeks in Florida can allow the pipes to freeze. Don’t take that chance. Learn how to winterize cabin plumbing and save yourself the mess—and cost—of the resulting repairs. 

Tips to Winterize Plumbing in a Vacant House 

Knowing how to winterize a house’s plumbing system is an essential part of closing a house for the winter. Where do you start? Here are a few tips for winterizing plumbing for a vacant house.  

  • Outdoor Spigots 
    Make sure to disconnect all hoses and fixtures and repair any leaks in your spigots before winter hits. What may be harmless drips through summer can quickly turn to a frozen spigot and pipe in winter. Next, close your interior shut-off valve leading outdoors, then open all the spigots to drain for at least a few hours. 

  • Irrigation System 
    Turn off the main water valve going out to your irrigation or sprinkler system and shut off any back flow prevention valves. If you have a timer set up, make sure it is turned off or set to rain mode. Once these are off, you can drain all the water from the irrigation lines. 

  • Toilets 
    With your main water valve closed, flush the toilet and ensure it’s completely emptied. Pour antifreeze in the bowls to prevent standing water in the pipes.  

  • Water Heater 
    After you turn off the gas or electric power supply and water leading to the hot water heater, connect a hose to the drain valve and drain all the stored water. 

  • Water Softener 
    With the main water supply valve closed and water pump and heater turned off, lay the water softener down slowly. When the rim is secure and the inlet and outlet are over the drain, allow the tank to fully drain, gently lifting the bottom until all the water is emptied. If necessary, the brine tank needs to have any water above the salt level removed. It's very important to be sure all the water has been drained from the water softener. Any water holding in the softener can freeze and damage the control unit.   

  • Drain Water Pipes 
    With the main water supply closed, open all the faucets and let the water clear out of the pipes. Then pour antifreeze down all the plumbing fixture drains to keep any trickles of standing water from freezing in the p-traps.  

Perhaps you’re not leaving for long enough to justify draining the water lines, but your pipes still need protection. You can wrap pipes with heat tape to make sure the temperatures don’t freeze your pipes. 
 

Trust Mr. Rooter Plumbing to Winterize Your Plumbing System 

Winter weather can be disastrous on plumbing. Even what seems like a mild winter can cause damage if the house is not properly winterized, and a vacation homeowner’s worst fear is returning in the spring to discover burst pipes and a flooded house. That’s why knowing how to winterize plumbing systems is essential. Your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing can take the stress off by helping you close up your vacation home by winterizing your plumbing system. Just call (855) 982-2028 or request an estimate online today.