How Do You Winterize Plumbing In A Vacant House?

image of a snow-covered house in the lehigh valley that has winterized plumbing

A lot of people will do everything to avoid winter weather. When the temperature starts to plunge, they will begin to pack their bags and head out to warmer regions. If your family is planning an extended vacation, then prepare the house for extreme cold before you leave. Winterize plumbing to prevent burst pipes and other headaches upon your return in the spring. Leave nothing to chance so you won’t have to deal with costly plumbing repairs later on.

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How To Winterize Plumbing For Vacant Homes

Consider the following tips for various elements of the plumbing system:

1. Outdoor Spigots

faucet cover installed on outdoor water faucet to protect it from freezing

Outdoor spigots are more vulnerable to damage because of their exposure to extreme temperatures. Remove all of the hoses and other fixtures that are connected to your outdoor faucets. Leaks should be fixed before you leave. Call a local plumber to take care of this problem at once. Small drips may not pose a threat in the summer but they could lead to frozen pipes in the winter. Interior valves that lead outdoors should be closed to prevent water from flowing through. Lastly, open the spigots for several hours to drain any remaining water.

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2. Sprinkler System

Sprinkler systems make it easier to maintain plants in the summer. However, they tend to go unused in the winter since the ground is always wet with snow and the temperatures make it difficult for plants to grow anyway. Before leaving, turn off the water valve that feeds the sprinkler system. Turn off any timers that might trigger it as well. Finish the task by draining the water from the lines.

3. Toilets

toilet water shut-off

Nobody will be using the toilets in a vacant house so cut it off from the supply. Close the main water valve to prevent water from getting into the toilet tank. Flush until all the contents are gone. Open the tank to verify. Before you leave, place a plumbing antifreeze solution into the bowls to avoid standing water inside the pipes while you’re gone.

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4. Water Heater

The hot water heater is extremely useful in preventing frozen pipes when they are filled with water. It is a good idea to use this whenever there are people in the house. If you plan to leave the place completely vacant, then there is no reason to keep this going. Close the valve to cut off the water supply to the water heater. Turn off the power supply and the fuel connection as well. Finally, get a hose and connect this to the drain valve so that you can remove the water stored inside. If this sounds complicated, call a plumber to do it for you.

5. Water Softener

water softener

Areas in which water is filled with minerals may use a water softener for conditioning. This will also have to be winterized by cutting it off from the water supply. Turn off the water pump and lay this softener down carefully on the ground. Secure the rim and place the outlet over the drain. Let this drain completely and lift the bottom if necessary. This is crucial since any water that remains may freeze, expand, and create enough pressure to damage the softener. Call a plumber if necessary.

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6. Water Pipes

Finally, make sure that no water remains in the water pipes. You should close the main water supply and open every faucet and shower in the house to let everything out. Get a plumbing antifreeze and pour this into the drains so that any standing water in the P-traps will not turn to ice. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Additional Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Follow the additional tips below:

1. Air Compressors

Liquid may still remain in the pipes after you have opened the faucets. If you want to make sure that the pipes are completely devoid of water, then use an air compressor to push the liquid out. Be careful and use just enough pressure to accomplish this.

2. Open Taps

image of an open water tap

All of the taps should stay open throughout the winter season or at least until you get back to your house. This will allow water to evaporate and move out of the pipes. Closed taps can also create a vacuum that will hold water inside the plumbing system.

3. Drain Traps

Sinks and tubs may have drains with traps below them. These will hold water which is difficult to remove fast. The best that one can do is to pour plumbing antifreeze into each of these drains. This should prevent the water from turning into ice and damaging the traps.

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4. Insulate Pipes

Exterior pipes may require additional protection. You can shield them with insulation sleeves or place slip-on foam insulation. Try to cover everything since any gaps will be vulnerable to the cold air. This is especially important if you have metal pipes since these are more likely to get affected by extreme temperatures than plastic pipes. Get help from a plumber for thorough

5. Perimeter Gaps

Check for gaps along the exterior of the house. If there are visible cracks, then cold air is likely to get inside through these openings. Once the interior gets freezing cold, the pipes will be in danger. Sealing these gaps is essential. Caulking and spray foam works well.



If you have experienced frozen pipes in the past, then you know how messy and costly they can be. Don’t let it happen again by winterizing the plumbing in your house. If you do it right, then you can go on a vacation without any worries. Try the tips above and secure the assistance of a plumber for advanced tasks. Professionals can fix leaks, clogs, and other issues that could get worse in freezing temperatures. They can also help you protect the pipes for your peace of mind.

Call Robinson Plumbing For Superior Plumbing Services

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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We offer various plumbing services ranging from drain clogs, water heater replacements, toilet repairs, water leaks, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best options for your home and budget.

Find yourself dealing with an unexpected plumbing problem in the middle of the night? No worries! You can count on the expert plumbers at Robinson Plumbing to take care of you. We offer reliable 24-hour emergency plumbing services. You can count on us to get the job done quickly and correctly and, best of all, at an affordable price.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work comes with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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Some of the areas we service include Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Lehigh Valley, Whitehall, and these zip codes: 1 8101, 18015, 18042, 18001, 18052, as well as all surrounding areas in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

Call us today at (610) 351-9889 or contact us for any questions that you might have!