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Close up view of a fresh water tap

If you’re leaving your home vacant for more than a few days during the winter, it’s a good idea to winterize your house. This means draining water from the plumbing system to prevent your pipes from cracking or bursting due to water freezing within them. Dewinterizing involves reversing that process, and here are the steps you need to follow.

Step 1

Remove the aerators from your kitchen and bathroom faucets. If you don’t, accumulated sediment will get stuck in the aerator when you turn the water back on. Most aerators can be twisted off by hand, but you can use pliers for the stubborn ones. Check that every faucet is turned off.

Step 2

Go around the house and open the supply valve under each sink. Do the same thing for appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. Finally, open the supply valve on your water heater, but make sure to close the pressure release valve, otherwise water might run out when you start to refill the tank. If it’s electric, shut the power off at the breaker.

Step 3

Find an outside water faucet and turn it on. Not only will this let you know there’s water coming in to your house when you turn on the main water supply, it’ll also lower the pressure of water rushing back into your plumbing.

Step 4

Locate your main water valve, usually a small lever near your water meter. Start by turning it a quarter turn, then wait 20 seconds. Repeat the process until the valve is fully open. Going any faster risks damaging your pipes due to excessive water pressure.

Step 5

Check the exterior faucet to make sure it’s flowing. If it is, simply turn it off and go check that water is flowing into the heater’s tank. Whatever you do, don’t turn the power on until the tank is full.

Step 6

Turn the water on at each sink, but don’t rush. Allow them to run for 15 to 20 seconds, then shut them off and replace the aerators. Turn the valves a quarter turn at a time at each toilet, and flush them once the tank is full. Finally, run baths and showers for a few minutes, and remember to go slowly to avoid damaging your pipes.

When to call a residential plumber

When you’re done, turn everything off and check your water meter. If the usage meter is rotating, that might mean you have a leak and it’s time to call a plumber. If you’re in Hamilton and suspect you might need help with damaged pipes, call us at Pitton Plumbing and Heating.


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