Winterizing your Pine Mountain Lake Home

Our winter temperatures in Groveland can occasionally dip into the teens, and if your home is not properly winterized, that could result in a burst water pipe. When the air temp rises above freezing the water begins to flow from the burst pipe, and you could have a huge water bill to pay in a short time. If the pipe is inside your home, the damage caused by the leak could be horrendous! Groveland Community Services District has made the following recommendations for “winterizing” your Pine Mountain Lake / Groveland home:

  • Turn water off at your shut-off valve (not at the water meter). Most homes have a shutoff valve near where the water supply enters the home. If you do not have a shutoff valve, then turn the water off at the meter (I usually do this as well, even though I have a shutoff valve).
  • After turning off water, open all faucets. Start with the lowest one and work upward. (Personally, I just open and drain the lowest faucet in the system and I think this is sufficient).
  • Disconnect and store garden hoses.
  • If you have a drip irrigation system, disconnect it from the supply line and drain it by opening the lowest end of the system.
  • Use a protective bag over the outside faucets if you do not have freeze proof faucets.
  • Insulate all exposed pipe.

Most homeowners leave their heat on with the thermostat at 45-50 degrees for winterizing, and if you do this the pipes in and underneath your home should be OK, as long as you have taken the precautions mentioned above. However if you are not willing to leave your thermostat on you should do the following as well:

  • Disconnect and drain dishwasher and washing machine lines. Cover the end of the hoses with plastic wrap or a baggie, so that foreign matter does not enter the pipes.
  • If you have an icemaker, be sure to drain the line on it and cover the end with plastic wrap.
  • Drain water heater.  Remember to leave pressure relief valve open.
  • If possible, remove the trap and drain.  Pour one quart of antifreeze in the drain even if you cannot drain it (bathtub is one example).
  • Flush the toilets and plunger them out.  Add one quart of antifreeze to the bowl and one quart in the tank.  Flush so antifreeze is in traps, bowl and tank.
  • Pour one cup antifreeze into the tub of the washing machine.  Turn machine on spin for one minute – this will put antifreeze in the pump.
  • Use RV antifreeze for your dishwasher (most common name is Pink Magic).
  • If you have a humidifier, drain and dry it.

After reading the above list you probably understand why most people elect to leave the heat on (with the thermostat set at 45 to 50 degrees or higher) for winterizing. If you go this route, here are the recommendations for winterizing the interior of your home:

  • Open all cabinet doors (ie under sinks) so heat can circulate around pipes.
  • Be sure heat vents are open and unobstructed (no bird nests or debris).
  • If you have a fireplace, be sure the damper is closed.
  • If you have an air conditioner, be sure to wrap it so heat does not escape to the outdoors.
  • If you use a swamp cooler, be sure to drain and clean it. Wrap the outside with heavy plastic or a cover designed for it.
  • Close all window coverings to help hold heat in.

Many of my clients (whose primary residence is out of area) have me hold a key to their home, and you are welcome to contact me for assistance if you have forgotten to “winterize” your home.