How to Prepare an Unoccupied Home’s Plumbing for Winter

Winter Snow Craftman Cape Cod Style Home | Mr. Rooter Plumbing of South Jersey
You know that vacant house on your block that gets some occasional traffic, but for the most part, it’s sitting unoccupied? Obviously, someone is taking care of it and ensuring the home doesn’t become dilapidated.

Still, do you ever wonder what happens with the plumbing when you leave a house unoccupied, especially during winter?

Most owners of vacant homes in Vineland typically have a home plumbing winterization checklist to help maintain its function in case a new renter comes calling. Our team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of South Jersey can help keep your plumbing intact during winter while you’re managing a currently unoccupied rental home and working on getting a new tenant moved in.

Disconnect Outside Hoses

During winter, water left in hoses can drip from the spigot. Now, this might seem like a huge deal until you realize that water can quickly freeze and cause serious damage to your plumbing. Because a vacant home’s plumbing doesn’t get frequent use, water could already be lying in wait to freeze. Ensure you disconnect hoses from spigots, or they could freeze and stick. If this is the case, you can hold a hair dryer over the area to thaw it. Once it’s thawed enough to unscrew, remove the hose and place it in a garage to prevent further freezing.

Another alternative to protecting your outdoor spigot is to wrap it in heat tape, which requires an outlet. You’ll want to be extremely careful using either a hair dryer or heat tape, as both need electricity to operate. And we all know that water and electricity can be a dangerous combination.

Flush Irrigation Systems

Winter means that your grass will likely go dormant, resulting in watering being unnecessary (for the most part). Whether you have a drip irrigation system or traditional sprinklers, it’s important to winterize this system. For unoccupied homes, irrigation systems are an extended part of the plumbing system and should be winterized accordingly.

Flushing your irrigation system while a home is vacant will:

  • Ensure water doesn’t become frozen inside pipes
  • Prevent pipe expansion and burst lines
  • Keep it in optimal condition through the winter months
  • Reduce clogs and sediment buildup

This task should be at the top of your home winterization checklist to guarantee that the new tenant will have an efficiently operating irrigation system for the duration of their lease.

Close the Water Shutoff Valve

Your gate valve or main water valve is a component used to shut off the water supply to your home. You’ll want to shut this valve off at an unoccupied home during winter to keep standing water out of pipes. If you’ve never had to use this valve, you may not be aware of its existence or where it’s currently located. It could be in one of two places: outside near the front curb or near your water heater in a basement, attic, garage, or crawlspace.

Drain the Water Heater

Water heaters help provide hot water for your family, so routine upkeep is vital. Even for a currently unoccupied home, draining or flushing the unit will keep it working more efficiently. How? Well, a water heater that isn’t drained at least every year could have sediment buildup that causes system malfunctions.

If you don’t flush your vacant home’s water heater, you may experience the following:

  • Discolored water – When sediment collects and settles at the bottom of a water heater tank, the damage could result in corrosion, rust, or bacteria that turns your water in various colors. Drinking or using this water to clean clothes or dishes is unsafe.
  • Temperature fluctuations – You shouldn’t have to deal with a cold water sandwich, a phenomenon most commonly experienced with tankless water heaters where water temperatures fluctuate wildly.
  • Strange noises – Popping, crackling, or banging sounds coming from your water heater tank could indicate that you have limescale build-up. Draining the tank will eliminate internal damage and costly repairs.
  • High energy bills – No one wants to overpay to heat water throughout a home, renters included. Once you have a tenant in a previously vacant home, heating costs could skyrocket if you haven’t maintained the water heater. Flushing sediments keeps the unit from overworking and breaking down.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of South Jersey Makes Winterizing Plumbing at an Unoccupied Home Easy!

Winter has made its way to Vineland, so it’s time to prepare a vacant rental property for lower temperatures and new tenants hoping to rent soon. Our team will help you check off all the tasks on your winterization checklist to preserve the plumbing and avoid any costly repairs before an eager renter moves in.

Call for more information and request an estimate today!