Prevent frozen pipes this winter

Cold temperatures can cause problems if you’re away during a power outage. To prevent ruptured pipes and water damage, you must do more than turn off the main water valve.

The following is a step-by-step process to winterize your plumbing system:

1. Turn off the main water service valve (usually on the basement wall at the front of the home).

2. Turn off the gas valve on the water heater, or if you have an electric water heater, turn off the breaker that supplies power to it.

3. Drain the water heater tank. Connect a drain hose to the hose bib on the water heater and place the open end of the hose near a floor drain.

4. Open all indoor faucets, both hot and cold sides. This includes sinks, lavatories, showers, and bathtubs. Unhook the washing machine hoses and open these two valves. NOTE: If you have water filters or a water softener, these will also need to be drained.

5. Flush all toilets to drain most of the water out of the tanks. Pour some propylene glycol (antifreeze — not ethylene glycol which is toxic and used in cars) in the tanks to mix with the remaining water and pour one pint of non-diluted antifreeze into each toilet bowl.

6. Pour propylene glycol into each drain trap in the home. These include sinks, lavatories, tubs, showers, and the washing machine discharge pipe.

7. If you have a sump pump, have a battery back-up sump pump which will activate, even if there is no power.

Hopefully, all will be fine while you are away, but considering the massive damage a broken pipe can cause, it’s worth it to take a little extra precaution. We hope your holidays are happy and incident free.