My elderly aunt passed away recently, leaving behind a small 2BR ranch in a
retirement community. The lawyer handling her affairs has asked me to
prepare the house for the winter since there's no sure way of telling how
long it will take to sell.
What should I do other than shutting off the water? Location is Jersey Shore
area, and the house has electric heat.
It really isn't anything you have to do until October, or maybe November.
It is a matter of getting ALL the water out of the plumbing.
Turn off the water, pump out the toilets, drain the washing machine and
dishwasher, and then get ALL the water out of the plumbing. Then put
RVantifreeze wherever there might be any water left.
I use compressed air to blow out every faucet.
If the house wasn't designed to be winterized, I am not sure how you get it
out of the very lowest pipes without cutting into them; my cottage has
drains at all the low points.
Turn off the water, gas & the main circuit breaker. After you turn off the
water -don't- flush the toilets unless you want stinky sewer gas in the
house. Just open the faucets and let the water out. I don't think it's
necessary to blow air through all the water lines; if there is air in them
and the water freezes, it will have some place to expand in without breaking
I was doing this work for a company handling foreclosure properties in
WI. Here's the drill:
Turn off power at the main breaker.
Drain all the water out of the water heater. Turn off the water
before the meter and take out the meter. Use compressed air to blow
out as much water as you can out of the pipes. Even a small amount of
water left behind can cause pipes to burst, period. If there is a
significant amount of pipe before the meter, cover it with a big
blanket of insulation, and consider shutting the water off at the
Pour a liberal amount of RV antifreeze into all toilets. Pour some in
all drains to get it into the traps. If the heating system is
hydronic, consider getting a professional to drain it down completely.
Based on the cynicism about the legal profession expressed near the
start of this thread sounds like best to make sure there will be
nothing the lawyer can complain about!
Would further suggest that the measures may depend on climate. Here
our almost completely below ground basement never goes below 50
degrees F even in cold weather with house unoccupied. Almost all our
house plumbing is at main floor level so can be drained down quite
easily/quickly into a basement floor drain.
BTW if there are any outside taps for watering the garden they may not
be the type where the valve itself is buried in the wall! Open them up
to allow water to drain out or back down the system.
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