Winterizing Your Home

On October 21, 2012, in Uncategorized, by John Enger
Following are generic directions for winterizing your home. Locations of shutoff valves may vary from home to home—a neighbor or friend with the same model home may be able to help you locate the shutoff valve.
     DRAIN YOUR HOSE BIBS (outside faucets): Many landscaping companies provide this service. Many homeowners prefer to do it themselves.
     To drain the hose bib on the front of the house at the garage, close the shutoff valve in your garage and open the hose bib. Loosen the little bleeder valve (a small brass thumbscrew right next to the valve. Loosen this valve completely and remove it to allow air to enter the line. There is a small black gasket inside the brass thumbscrew—be certain it comes out when you remove the thumbscrew. Occasionally a gasket will stick inside and prevent the line from draining. Go to the hose bib and push in the pin located in the center of the faucet opening. Hold this pin in while the water drains out. You will probably hear some gurgling as air flows into the line and forces the water out. Replace the bleeder valve & gasket loosely or leave it out—you will need to re-tighten it when you turn this water on again in the spring.
     The hose bib on the back of the house is usually frost-free and self-draining. You do not need to do anything other than make sure the hose is disconnected and stored. In extreme cold it is a good idea to put a cover on this hose bib.
     Some homes do not have a frost-free hose bib on the back or side of the house. In this case, the shut-off will be located under the kitchen sink, a bathroom sink, or another location. When you find it, use the same procedure described above for draining your garage hose bib.
     DRAIN YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM. Your landscaper can do this.
     EXTREME COLD CONDITIONS: When we have extreme cold, especially when combined with wind, open cupboard under any sink that is on an exterior wall of your house so that warm air can circulate and keep the pipes from freezing. After determining which faucet is the farthest point your water line runs, you might want to let a slow, steady stream of cold water flow from that faucet all night. This will keep water flowing in the lines and not allow them to freeze. Extreme cold conditions are temperatures of 20 degrees or lower.
     MAIN WATER SHUT-OFF. In the event of a water pipe break, you should shut off the main water to the house. The main water shut-off is in your garage in one of three places: down low on the wall to the house, behind or below the water heater, or on the outside wall (but inside the garage). If you have water leaking into your house, go to the garage and shut off the main valve.
     VENT COVERS: Professionals advise against plugging foundation vents with styrofoam covers in our climate. It is seldom cold enough to necessitate plugging vents here. Leaving vents open allows moisture to escape.  
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