During winter, many of us get excited because it’s time for a vacation and go on holiday travels. But then the fear of frozen pipes begins to catch our attention. Because winter is not just a season of fun, but it could also be a terrible experience for us that comes along with the chillier climate.
And, nothing could be worse than having no access to water as we return home.
Therefore, making sure our home is ready for winter is crucial before we leave it empty during these drops in temperature. So we have to think about winterizing the house in the first place. And, winterization, while not rocket science, can prevent burst pipes, structural damage and possibly save us from a catastrophic disaster.
That’s why you should be prepared for this and should learn about how to keep pipes from freezing in a vacant house.
So, How to Keep Pipes From Freezing In A Vacant House?
Let’s have a look at a few tips that can protect your unattended home from possible winter damages.
Inspect Your Home & Make A Plan Of Action
Before you leave, walk around both the exterior & interior parts of your home and carefully inspect to detect any issues. Now, make a checklist based on the investigation and decide what needs to be done. Now, divide the list and set your priority. Give proper attention to:
- Vulnerable pipes, particularly pipes running along the outside walls and unheated crawl space or the basement.
- Carefully examine door frames, windows, all the corners and edges for any cracks or openings.
- Check the central heating and make sure you have adequate fuel and alternative heating in place.
- If you have a wall thermostat, check if it is working correctly and set the temperature to at least 55 Degrees Fahrenheit.
And, don’t throw away the checklist as it will come handy once you return home and can’t remember what has to be reverted back to the normal again.
Locate The Stopcock & Turn Off The Water Supply
Whether you stay home or leave it empty this winter, you must make sure that:
- Everybody knows the location of the main stopcock in your family.
- You show your neighbor the location and give instructions on how to stop the main stopcock in an emergency.
Now, before you leave the home unoccupied, you need to turn off the water at the main stopcock. Also, make sure to disconnect and remove all hoses and taps at the external wall and then store them in a dry place in the house. This will significantly reduce the risk of flood in the event of a burst pipe.
However, you can still heat your home, and the plumbing as most modern heating systems are able to work with the main water turned off.
Drain The Waterline
Shutting off the water at the main stopcock doesn’t mean the pipes have no water in between. In fact, the water will be there in the pipes and, if you do not drain them, then a burst pipe is still a possibility. It is particularly important when you know your heating system is not efficient enough to protect the entire plumbing from freezing.
So, it is a good idea to:
- Open all the faucets and drain your supply system.
- Drain any indoor or outdoor pool, dishwasher, washing machine, or other appliances that hold standing water.
- Eliminate water in drain traps, or if you like, pour an “RV” type antifreeze solution into them following the instructions.
Cover Up Any Cracks or Openings
Following on the checklist that we mentioned above, you have to seal any weak spots, cracks, or holes, particularly on the edges or corners near any water pipes. Now you should cover up crawl space vents, window cracks, and door frames to narrow down the risks further and keep the interior escaped from chilly outside drafts. This way, you can enjoy a warmer home as you return.
Consider Pipe Insulation
Adding insulation is by far the most effective technique in the book of winterization when it comes to preventing frozen pipes. During the period of time, it is important that you think about lagging and adding insulating around pipes that run in crawl space, basement, attics, and taps that are fixed to the outside walls because these are the most exposed part of plumbing in the property.
You can apply special fiberglass sleeves or foam rubber directly to your pipes and protect them from freezing.
Let Warm Air Circulate Around Unheated Areas
Now that you set the thermostat at a favorable temperature, it’s wise to keep the doors open in the rooms that get colder than others. This then allows the warm air to circulate better so that the heat stays even throughout these rooms.
The doors under the kitchen and bathroom cabinets should also be kept open that are exposed to the cold.
If, on the other hand, you have pipes running into the garage and you do not have adequate insulation in this area, it would be best to keep the door closed so that pipes are less likely to freeze as you trap some of the colds behind closed doors.
Invest In Smart Appliances
Devices such as WESROC Remote home temperature and fuel control, leak detector, and automatic stop valve can be an excellent solution for the unoccupied home in an emergency incident.
Turn Off the Gas Line
The worst thing can happen to your house if it catches fire from a gas leak when you are away from home. So, we recommend that you shut off the gas line to prevent such an accident and save your home from severe damage.
This is our guide on how to keep pipes from freezing in a vacant house. We hope this article has made things a little easier for you if you are not familiar with such things, such as winterizing a vacant home.
Also, we believe by now, you understand that a little preparation and added precaution can keep your house safe and could give you peace of mind during the length of time you are away from home. And, if you are interested, read the other articles on this site.
Also, feel free to share your feedback in the comments section below. We will get to it as soon as possible.