Winterizing The Plumbing In Your Boston Home, Part II

Last week we covered the first part of winterizing your Boston pipes. We’ll finish up the job today.

Sometimes, gravity alone won’t completely drain the plumbing. In this case, you’ll want to use compressed air to “blow” the remaining water out of the pipes.

For appliances that are connected to the plumbing via hoses, you’ll need to detach the hoses and drain them manually. This will include your dishwasher and your washing machine. It may also include any flexible hoses that are used under sinks or in tight spaces.

Visually inspect the toilet tank(s). Don’t be surprised if you find a substantial amount of water in the tank. Flush the toilet again and hold down the flush handle until the water drains from the tank. You may be left with a small amount of standing water. Remove this with towels or sponges. Plunge the bowl to drain any remaining water here.

Finally, check the water meter pipes to see if you need to drain any water from your side of the meter. Your meter may include a bleeder valve to help drain water from the meter. If so, open this valve to drain any residual water in the meter. You may need to use a pipe wrench to open a connector if no bleeder valve is present.

Once all of the pipes have been drained, you’ll need to add antifreeze to each drain in the home. RV antifreeze works well. Add a small amount of antifreeze to each toilet tank, and to the bowl. You’ll want to cover the drain completely to prevent sewer gas from entering the home.

Fill every sink and tub trap. You can do this with about 1-2 cups of antifreeze. You’ll also want to add antifreeze to the dishwasher drain. Start the dishwasher and run it until the pump turns on.

Add a quart of antifreeze to the washing machine. Set the control to spin and run it until it stops draining. You can also remove the drain hose from the utility tub and empty any residual water into a bucket. Don’t forget to put antifreeze into the drain for the utility tub.

If the furnace has a humidifier attached to it, drain the humidifier, but don’t add antifreeze to this appliance. High-efficiency furnaces may also have a condensate pump. You may need to put antifreeze into the condensate pump. Doing so is not harmful. This pump usually drains water to a floor drain or to a higher spot in the plumbing if no floor drain is available.

If your home has a hot water or steam heat system, you’ll need to drain this as well. If you need assistance with draining a steam heat or hot water heating system, or if draining your plumbing seems like an overwhelming task, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing at (617) 288-2911. We can drain and secure your home’s plumbing system in preparation for your extended absence.