Preventative Winter Maintenance for Water Pipes & Vacant Homes


Don’t let winter weather catch you unprepared. The following tips will help you prevent the expense and inconvenience of frozen and broken pipes.

  • Regularly check your plumbing. Perform preventative maintenance and repair all leaks and seepage.
  • Disconnect all garden hoses from outside hose-bib faucets.
  • Shut down and drain all lawn-sprinkler systems.
  • Know where your (not the Utility’s) primary shut-off valve for water is located and how it operates. If you don’t have one, consider having a plumber install a stop and drain valve.
  • Don’t turn off the heat while you’re on vacation. Instead, lower the thermostat, but not below 55 degrees.
  • Insulate water pipes. Exposed pipes are especially vulnerable to freezing weather.


If you leave your house for the winter months, take the following steps to protect pipes from freezing:

  • Use your home’s stop and drain valve to shut off your water.
  • Turn off and drain your water heater.
  • Open indoor and outdoor faucets to drain pipes (after you have turned the water off).
  • Pour motor home-type anti-freeze in your toilet bowl to prevent freezing. Also consider pouring it in shower drains and “P” traps under sinks.

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