Freezing Temps Can Lead to Freezing Pipes — How to Drain Them to Prevent Damage
Knowing how to drain your pipes to prevent freezing may help you avoid a future repair, as well as potentially catastrophic water damage to the interior of your home.
Ice tends to form inside water supply lines when temperatures drop to about 28 degrees. This is especially a concern when your home’s unoccupied. For example, frozen pipes frequently occur during cold snaps when occupants are out of town for the holidays. Practice these methods to drain your pipes and prevent freezing:
- Turn off water at the main shutoff valve. If you don’t know where it is, ask a professional plumber to show you and demonstrate how to turn it off and on.
- Turn off the water heater gas valve, or if you have an electric heater, turn off the electricity to the heater at the circuit breaker panel.
- Flush each toilet in your house to remove most of the water from the tank. Then, sponge or scoop away any residual water remaining at the bottom of the tank.
- Beginning at the upper level of your house (if there’s one), turn on both the cold and hot water taps at each sink and bathtub to allow residual water to flow out of the pipes. Make sure to leave both taps open.
- At every sink and tub drain opening in your house, plunge the drain to push water out of the drain trap— a prime location for freezing — and down the drain pipe. Alternatively, you can use compressed air from a portable air compressor to blow water down the drain.
- Place a bucket under the water heater drain valve and drain any water remaining in the tank. Then, close the drain valve.
- It’s important to place a written notice on the main water shutoff valve that the house has been winterized and that the water should not be turned on until all taps in the house are closed.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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