Before the cold sets in, you should winterize your outdoor plumbing system in order to prevent damage from frozen pipes. You don’t use your outdoor plumbing during the winter, so it’s safer to drain the system of water and shut off the water supply to prevent freezing. When spring comes around, you’ll have to de-winterize your house in order to use your hose for things like garden watering, car washing, and kiddy pool filling.
Most people only winterize their exterior plumbing because it doesn’t receive any use during the winter and is therefore more prone to freezing. Because you use your indoor plumbing on a constant basis, it’s at less risk. However, if you’re a snowbird and planning to be gone for weeks or months out of the winter, you should winterize your entire house—indoor and outdoor plumbing included.
To de-winterize your house means you’re getting your plumbing back in shape for everyday use. It’s a pretty simple process that basically involves reversing what you did in the fall to winterize your plumbing.
In this post, we are focused on exterior faucets. However, the same process applies if you are de-winterizing your whole house.
5 Easy Steps to De-Winterize Your House
Step 1: Remove aerators from all faucets.
Removing the aerator allows any water build-up to drain out of the system.
Step 2: Open the water supply valves on each faucet.
Each faucet has its own supply valve that controls the flow of water to the faucet. When you winterize your faucets, you turn off the individual supply valves as well as the central water supply valve. Make sure the faucets are in the off position when you open the supply valve.
Step 3: Open the supply valve at the hot water heater.
After you open the supply valve on the hot water heater, open one of your exterior hose bibs, or spigots. This will allow you to check that the water is flowing, and will also help to release some of the pressure that has built up while the flow of water has been cut off.
Step 4: Open the supply valve at the water meter.
The water meter supply valve is the central water supply for your house. Do not open this supply valve in one motion. Take it slowly and carefully. Twist the valve a quarter turn every 10 seconds. This will allow the flow of water to increase gradually, rather than flooding your plumbing lines in a rush that can shock and overwhelm the system, causing leaks.
It’s best to perform this step with a few helping hands. Station people throughout the house to watch and listen for leaks. If you discover a leak, turn off the water supply immediately and call your plumber.
Step 5: Turn on all exterior faucets.
Once the central supply valve is open and after you’ve checked for leaks, turn on all exterior faucets. Letting them flow for a couple minutes will help purge any sediment that has settled inside the pipes. Let them run until the water flows clear. While they’re running, walk around to each spigot to check the water pressure. Low pressure can indicate that there’s a leak somewhere inside the shaft. Call your plumber to check the system if you’re unsure.
And that’s it! That’s how your de-winterize your house. Now get out there and enjoy the sunshine.