Winterizing plumbing and closing your vacation home

When closing a vacation home for winter in colder climates, you need to make sure that everything is set to withstand freezing temperatures. Failing to do so can cause large, costly problems for your sometimes home. If you’re winterizing a home for the first time, or just not sure how to proceed, these tips will help you protect your vacation property with proper winter precautions.

The main concern for winterizing any home is preventing pipes from freezing. This can be especially important in vacation homes, since there isn’t a full-time occupant to quickly react and prevent pipes from freezing at the earliest warning sign.

Pipes, especially those that are near the home’s outer walls or in exposed areas such as crawl spaces. Pipes in these exposed areas should be insulated, preferably with foam, to prevent frost build-up or freezing. Hoses should be disconnected from outdoor spigots or faucets, and in colder climates, frost-proof covers should be installed to prevent freezing.

Other vacation home plumbing winterization actions include flushing the water heater to eliminate any built-up deposits and installing a  temperature monitoring system to provide warnings when temperatures within the home get dangerously low when the owners are away. You’ll also want to make sure your vacation home’s property manager or caretaker knows where the home’s main water shut-off valve is so quick action can be taken to prevent further damage if necessary.

To help aid your vacation home winterization goals, hiring a plumbing company to provide weatherization and advice may be a good ideas. They can also inspect your vacation home’s plumbing system to help ensure that it’s been properly winterized by the previous owners or tenants. Hiring a Chicago plumber helped one Aurora, Wisc., household avoid a big headache. “We moved here this spring and got a notice from the city that we needed to have an inspection of the sprinkler system,” they say. "We found Plumb-It [of Aurora] on Angie's List and called them... It turned out the price didn't include re-installing the valve which the previous owners had removed when they winterized the sprinkler system."

That family’s report underscores that it’s important to not only winterize your vacation home’s plumbing, but to do it correctly, which sometimes requires the help of a professional plumber. Following the steps above and undertaking other winterization procedures for your vacation home’s plumbing can save you a lot of money and trouble.


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