Winterize the plumbing in your vacation home

If you fail to winterize the pipes in your vacation for winter, you could return to find extensive damage.

If you fail to winterize the pipes in your vacation for winter, you could return to find extensive damage.

When leaving your vacation home at the end of the summer, the last thing you might be thinking about is the coming winter. Failing to winterize the pipes in your vacation home can lead to extensive damage, and worst of all, you won't be around when it happens.

Turn off the water meter with the meter key or contact a plumber to have the meter turned off prior to leaving the property. Open all the water faucets and valves inside your home to let the water drain from the pipes. When the water completely drains, turn off the main shut-off valve inside your home if applicable, but leave the faucets open and the meter turned off.

Wrap all exterior pipes as well as pipes in unheated areas of your vacation home with polyurethane or fiberglass pipe insulation. Use spray foam insulation to fill in the gaps around outdoor spigots. Make sure you turn off or remove any back flow prevention devices from your faucets before insulating them.

Disconnect and drain your washing machine hoses, ice maker waterline and dishwasher's supply and drain lines. Turn off the water heater and drain the water from the tank. Drain the water from spray attachments at your sinks and from the handheld shower head hoses.

Flush your toilets and remove any excess water from the tanks and bowls with an old towel. Pour one cup of antifreeze into the toilet bowls and an additional cup down the overflow tube in the toilet tanks.

This may seem excessive, especially in those areas that normally have mild winter temperatures. For example, Seattle's winter temperature averages around 36 degrees Fahrenheit, but its December temperatures have been known to drop below 20 degrees. Seattle-area plumbers and those in your area can help winterize your pipes in your vacation home if there are areas you cannot access.

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