How To Winterize Your Home's Plumbing Before Your Vacation
Winterizing your home is important if you plan to spend any time away from your home. While you can easily prevent your pipes from freezing when you are home and running hot water through them regularly, this might not be so easy during your winter vacation. Here are some easy tips for winterizing your home's plumbing when you're planning to be out of town.
1. Insulate Your Pipes
If you have any pipes in your home that are exposed, they need to be insulated properly. All of your pipes are at risk of freezing while you are gone, but particularly your exposed pipes. If you have drain piping or water pipes in uninsulated locations, such as the outside walls, basement, attic or crawlspace, take the time to insulate them before you leave. At the very least, add some foam insulation to the piping areas. The better idea is to wrap the pipes with electrical tape.
2. Pump Your Septic Tank
If you have a septic system instead of a sewer system, you must have your septic tank pumped before you go. If you're only planning on a short vacation during the winter and it is not due to be pumped for several months, you might be okay. Otherwise, pump that septic tank before leaving your home for the winter. Any sludge or water that is in the tank before you go can freeze and cause damage to the tank. Call up a septic tank professional from a place like the American Pumping Service to have them pump it before you leave on your winter vacation.
3. Turn Off Water Supply
Another thing to do if you're going away for the winter is to cut off the water supply to your exterior faucets. Go outside to where your water supply hook-ups are and turn all of the knobs. Not only do you want the indoor water to be shut off in the winter while you are gone, but exterior water sources, such as your garden hose. Disconnect the hoses before you leave. You do this so you don't have water leaks or water drips that might freeze while you are gone.
4. Drain Your Plumbing System
The last thing to do before you leave your home for the winter is to drain your plumbing system. Even if the water supply is turned off, you may still have some water that can slowly drip and freeze if you're gone during a big snowstorm. After shutting off the water supply, turn off the gas to your water heater. Remove all water from the tub of your washing machine. Open all faucets in your home to drain the water.