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close up view of a water tap

Winter is almost here, and it’s time to start thinking getting your plumbing ready for the cold months ahead, especially if you’re a snow bird that’s planning on leaving town or you have a summer cottage that needs to be shut down for the season. Failing to do so can cause the water left in the pipes to freeze and burst, which can lead to major water damage.

Winterizing outdoor plumbing

Make sure your frozen pipes don’t damage your hose, outdoor faucet or expensive sprinkler system or pool by following these steps:

  • Disconnect and drain all hoses then store them indoors for the winter

  • If your house has a shut-off valve for outdoor plumbing, turn it off and then open all outdoor valves and taps to drain

  • If your house doesn’t have an outdoor shut-off valve, insulate all outdoor pipes using pipe sleeves (these can be found at most hardware stores)

  • Wrap outdoor faucets with faucet covers (also available at hardware stores)

  • Drain your sprinkler system and winterize it according to the instruction manual

Keep in mind that this needs to be done every fall, even if you’ll be around for the entire season.

Winterizing indoor plumbing

If your home is going to be empty for more than a few weeks, winterize your plumbing by turning off the water and emptying all of the pipes.

  • Turn off the main water valve, pump and heater

  • Open all taps and valves to drain as much water as possible

  • Blow excess water out of pipes using an air compressor

  • Empty the hot water tank using its drain valve, making sure to also empty the holding tank

  • Flush the toilets to remove as much water as possible

  • Pour antifreeze anywhere it’s impossible to remove all the water, like toilets and drain traps on tubs and sinks

If you’re not leaving the house long enough to winterize your whole plumbing system, you can still protect your pipes by keeping your thermostat above 14 degrees Celsius, leaving a tap running to keep water flowing and insulating any pipes that are vulnerable to freezing.

For plumbing help in Hamilton and surrounding areas

If you need help winterizing your plumbing, the residential plumbers at Pitton Plumbing & Heating can help you get your house or cottage ready for the cold season. We also have emergency plumber services 24 hours a day in case of a plumbing crisis anywhere in our service area, which includes Hamilton, Oakville and the GTA. Contact us today for an appointment or book online.


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