It looks like old man winter is here to stay here in Murphy NC! Freezing temperatures can pose a threat that puts your house in danger of bursting pipes, flooding basements, and very expensive damages. Fortunately, you can take simple precautions to winterize your house that reduces the potential of these hazards to almost nothing. For less than $10 in supplies, you can have peace of mind that your house is safe from winter’s grip.
Here are the tips we recommend:
- Take garden hoses off your exterior hose bibs. These are notorious to freeze and burst the pipes behind your wall which can be a real nightmare to repair!
- Turn off the main water main coming in to your house. Usually the valve to do so is located in your crawlspace/basement or at the end of your driveway. They can be a myriad of locations, but this is the most important “to do” in preventing damage. If you have one located OUTSIDE of your house, this is the most important one to turn off.
- Turn on the hot and cold water on all your faucets and tub/showers. This will drain water pressure off your plumbing system. Leave them open.
- Purchase 2-3 gallons of pink RV antifreeze from any auto parts store or big box retailer. Pour 1-2 cups in every sink, tub, and shower so it fills your drain traps. This does double duty – 1) prevents remaining water from freezing. 2) RV antifreeze doesn’t evaporate like water so when you come back to your house, you won’t smell septic/sewer gasses that releases when traps dry out.
- Flush all your commodes till they can’t flush any more. Pour 2 cups of pink RV antifreeze in the back reservoir tank and 2-3 cups in the toilet bowl of each commode.
- Leave your heat set on 50-60 degrees. In the event power goes out, this provides a buffer in your house before it drops to below freezing. Also open cabinet doors under sinks to let the warm air get to the pipes.
Slightly more advanced techniques for added security (if you want):
- Water heaters store a LOT of water and you certainly do not want that to freeze. You either need to leave the power to it on so the water stays hot or drain it. Draining it is more work but ensures it will not freeze and flushes out of any sediment that may have accumulated. Draining requires the water main to be off and a garden hose. FIRST, turn the power to it off at the breaker panel. If you do not, you’ll burn out the elements. SECOND, connect the garden hose to the drain at the bottom of your water heater. You’ll want to run the garden hose outside or to a drain in your sink or tub. To open the valve, you’ll need a flat head screw driver and/or a small wrench. Turn it to the left and open it completely. Make certain a couple faucets are open to allow air to fill the void. When the water finishes draining, close the valve by turning it to the right.
- Plumbers use air to blow out pipes and get all the water out. You can do this yourself with a compressor and an attachment that can screw on to a shower head or sink. Open faucets etc individually to blow out the water in that line. This is easily done with two people – one to put air in the system and the other to go through the house opening faucets. Be sure to have the air pressure on your compressor turned down to 60-80 lbs.
Want the security of all this without having to do it yourself? No problem!! Go to our Gotta Guy list of Recommended Contractors, scroll to Plumbers, and call any of them to winterize your house for you. Then, you know it is done right! It generally costs a couple hundred bucks and often the plumber will offer to un-winterize your house at no additional cost.
I will also be writing tips on how to save your well from freezing temperatures and how to un-winterize your house. I hope this helps and keeps your house safe! We’re here for you and your real estate needs, so be certain to contact us or call today!