If you are going on vacation and leaving your home unattended this winter, you may be concerned about frozen pipes or other winter damage. You can head off problems associated with cold weather by winterizing your home properly before you head for warmer climates. Follow these steps to winterize your home and plumbing before you leave it this winter.
Shut Off Your Water
Chicago gets quite cold in the winter, as you know. But you're not the only one who starts to freeze when the temperatures take a dive. Your pipes are susceptible to freezing, and when they do, they could burst, leaving you with quite a mess to clean up when you get home. Before you head south for the winter, shut off the main water supply to your home. If you have well water, make sure you also turn off the breaker to the system. This is the first step in protecting your plumbing from winter's wrath.
Don't Forget the Water Heater
Once you've shut the main valve, go ahead and turn off your water heater, too. For gas water heaters, all you'll need to do is turn that level to the "off" position and shut off the gas valve. Electric water heaters will need to be turned off using the breaker.
Drain Your Pipes
Just because you've turned off your water, doesn't mean there isn't water hiding out in your plumbing system. You'll need to open all the faucets in your home and let them run until there's no water left in them. Don't forget to drain your pressure tank, too. You can take things a step further and use an air compressor to blow air through the pipes to make sure they are 100 percent drained.
If for whatever reason you'd rather not drain your pipes, keep your furnace on while you're away so your house doesn't get cold enough to freeze the pipes. Keeping it at 55 degrees or higher should keep everything toasty enough.
Pour Antifreeze in Your Toilet
Just like with your pipes, there's likely water still hanging out in your toilet. Give it a couple of flushes until all the water has disappeared. Once it's clear, pour antifreeze in the tank and the bowl. This little trick will further protect your toilet from any issues. A gallon should do it, just make sure you're using a non-toxic antifreeze that has been approved for use in plumbing.
If you have any questions about how to take care of your plumbing before you leave for an extended stay elsewhere, contact us today. We can assess your home and make further recommendations to help you stay efficient through the winter.