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How to Drain Pipes for the Winter: Avoid Frozen and Burst Pipes!

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Plumbing problems can lead to unwanted expenses if not checked at the right time.

That’s why it’s crucial to keep an eye on the plumbing system, especially during the colder winter months. This is when cold air comes in contact with your pipelines, increasing the chances of frozen and burst pipes, eventually leading to extensive water damage and dampness on the walls.

But there is a way to avoid these problems. All you have to do is invest a bit of your time in draining the pipes of your home before winter sets in. This will prevent the issues of broken pipes and costly repairs.

Many homeowners are unaware of the process to drain pipelines. If you’re among them, there’s no need to worry because we’re here to help. After a ton of research, we’ve carefully created this guide, explaining a few steps to help you with the draining process.

Steps To Drain Pipes For The Winter

Frozen pipes make for one of the most common plumbing issues that we come across during winter, which eventually leads to burst pipes. To avoid these problems, it’s crucial to proactively prepare the pipelines for cooler temperatures.

Here, we’ll be explaining the steps you need to follow to drain pipes for the winter. Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Shutting Off The Main Water Valve

Every house differs in terms of where this water valve is located. It can either be on the interior or exterior of your home near the water meter. The first step involves finding the main water valve, and for this, you may seek the help of your water supply company.

Once it’s located, open the box (if there is one), and turn the handle or knob counterclockwise. However, if it’s more difficult to turn, you might need to use a rag or simply call a professional plumbing company for assistance.

Step 2: Turning On The Water Fixtures

After the main water valve is successfully turned off, you’ll need to turn on every water fixture of your home until there’s no more water flow.

Step 3: Flushing All The Toilets

Next, we’d advise you to flush every toilet of your house, beginning with the top floor. You can confirm whether or not the water has drained entirely by checking if the toilet tank is empty. This can also be cross-checked by simply removing the tank cover.

Step 4: Pump Air Into The Water Pipes

Once all your pipelines are drained, you’ll need to pump air into them to force out any remaining water. It’s best to utilise an air compressor for this purpose; all you have to do is apply bursts of air into the primary drains. However, if you don’t have access to this tool, you can always use cans of forced air to get the job done.

This step not only helps in forcing out water from the pipes but also minimises the risk of the water freezing inside, thereby eliminating the problem of frozen and burst pipes.

Step 5: Ensure The Water Lines Are Completely Drained

If you use appliances like washing machines at home regularly, it’s important to run cold and hot water through them. This will make sure that all your water lines are completely flushed out. And for dishwashers, simply allow it to run in order to clear out water from the drain lines.

Step 6: Pouring Propylene Glycol

Finally, take a bottle of propylene glycol and pour it into the tubs and sinks of your home. Make sure you do this slowly. This acts as an anti-freezing agent, pushing any remaining water out of the pipelines. You may also consider adding a small amount of this solution to all the toilet tanks of the house.

But make sure you buy a non-toxic antifreeze solution, after all, it will be used inside your home. So take your time while selecting this chemical to ensure that there’s no compromise on safety.

Step 7: Using Water Again Post-Winter

Once you’re ready to use water again after the cold winter months, simply turn on the main water valve and allow each fixture to run until the pipes are full again.

When Should The Pipes Be Drained?

Most homeowners are aware of the threat that frozen and burst pipes pose during winter. That’s why it’s important to drain pipes prior to the season. But then the question arises - when should the pipes be drained?

The answer’s pretty simple - anytime you turn off the furnace or when no one is at home. For instance, you’re going on a vacation for two weeks, or you prefer staying somewhere warmer in the winter months, these are the times when draining is required.

However, if you’re leaving only for a few days and don’t have a problem with leaving the furnace on, there’s no need to drain them. All you have to do is set the thermostat to a minimum of 10 degrees Celcius - anything lower leads to the risk of frozen pipes.

Don't get frozen pipes this Winter

There you have it; those were the steps that need to be followed in order to have your home’s plumbing system good to go for the winter. These tips are easy to implement on your own, but you can always consider seeking assistance from a professional plumbing service if needed.

Once the appointment is scheduled, sit back, while the qualified specialists tackle the plumbing problem with ease and efficiency. Just make sure you take the necessary precautions well in advance to prevent headaches of frozen, burst, and damaged pipes.

On that note, we’ll now conclude this brief informative guide on draining pipes for the winter. Here’s hoping we could help you learn how to avoid frozen and burst pipes.

That’s all for now; feel free to reach out to us for any queries related to the topic.

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