: I need to winterize my house's water pipes.. help


daverbmxer
09-24-2008, 05:22 PM
The last couple years we got the town's handy man to do it for us, but my mom overpaid him last time and I'm sure he'd be expecting alot this time. It's probably time I learned anyway.

So.. it's a 2 story house plus the basement. I'm going to get the water shut off at the street and shut off the valve in the basement also. Of course I'll drain the water heater. After that though I don't know what to do. Apparently compressed air needs to be forced into the system to blow the pipes out. I was wondering how many PSI it would take and what adapter I'd need.

Would I then pour RV antifreeze down all drains and into toilets including tank?

ericautopart
09-24-2008, 05:25 PM
Sounds like your talking about it dry fire system. I've never heard of just winterizing your house's water system like that.

jopes
09-24-2008, 05:38 PM
that is a very common way to winterize a home or cabin. I would not go must above 60 psi of air. you will get air / water and it will be able to shake pipes as it is coming out.

yes antifreeze the drains, the toilet tanks and bowls. And do not forget about the tubes and showers or anything else that might have a drain with a elbow under it to collect solids. Dish washer? washing machine?

daverbmxer
09-24-2008, 05:49 PM
Thanks Jopes. Both the dishwasher and washing machine haven't been used in years.

I'm not really sure where the water is going to come out either. I read that one should open the highest tap, which would be the sink upstairs to open up the vacuum and let the water flow down. Would that mean I'd open a tap in the basement and all the water will come out down there?

Would I force air in through all faucets? I'm not sure what kind of adapter I'd use though. The best thing I can think of would be a lever actuated air sprayer that I'd jam into a rubber hose and then hold that against the faucet.

MikE2
09-24-2008, 06:38 PM
Put antifreze in the washer then drain it out. In the dishwasher you can use antifreze, but some people prefer vodka since antifreze is toxic.

SigEpBlue
09-24-2008, 06:51 PM
http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/abeng/news%20releases/savewaterpipes.htm

Also, RV antifreeze isn't toxic. It actually is comprised of mostly propylene glycol, a common food additive. http://www.peakantifreeze.com/rvmarine.htm

Bronco4Life
09-24-2008, 07:30 PM
Well, there's a few ways of doing it. I've done it quite a few times being that I live in a shore-town area.

Usually wherever you have a vertical run in a water pipe, at the lowest point, you'll have a T with a plug in the bottom, or someone may have even been nice enough to put a valve on the end. You're gonna want to open up every sink, every shower/tub, and flush every toilet once the water supply has been disconnected. From that point, you just gotta look for the drains down in the basement.

You can do it with compressed air, but you need a big ass compressor... basically a tag-along compressor... because your little shop/garage compressor won't give you the volume you need for a few minutes to push all the water out. FWIW, I've never winterized a house with one, just hit all the drains, and open everything up. Open the drain on the water heater, AND MAKE SURE YOU TURN THE BREAKER OFF! I always put a piece of duct tape over the WH breaker and write (DRAINED) on it as well.

Now, if you've got irrigation, that WILL need to be purged with a compressor.

I've also heard of guys making up a little attachment and hooking a wet/dry vac up and sucking air through the system for a while. That works better for getting the water out, because you have gravity to assist you. But IMO, as long as you are fairly sure there aren't any sagging areas of pipe where water will get trapped, you should be fine.

Bronco Rob
09-24-2008, 11:20 PM
When i winterize my travel trailer i run on the following theory:

"RV Antifreeze is about $2 a gallon, i would rather spend $10 and overkill everything rather than spend $4 and end up having to crawl my dead ass into tight locations to fix a pinhole leak behind the countertop".

I overkill everything. Jopes and B-4-Life pretty much have it spot on. The only difference between what they said and what i do is that a trailer (well my trailer) is only rated to 40 psi, then you start blowing shit up.

Crawdaddy
09-24-2008, 11:26 PM
just out of curiosity, being that I live in an area that never gets below 60 degrees... why are you winterizing the house? I understand that water will freeze in the pipes and cause them to crack or burst, but aren't you living in the house? I would think that I'm using most of the sinks and such, and I'd really like some hot water when I take a shower. I very much appeciate the enlightenment. :whiteflag

Bronco Rob
09-24-2008, 11:32 PM
it's probably a summer house on a lake or something, not their primary house

daverbmxer
09-24-2008, 11:33 PM
Hey Chris, I'm winterizing the house because no one is living there at the moment. My parents live on the west coast and I'm 90 miles away at university. It can get down to -30* for a week or more here, thats why it has to be done. I really only come to the house on long weekends to work on my Bronco. One pipe has burst in the house already (after the handy man "winterized" it) so I'm not even able to turn on the water while I'm there. That means no shower.. and worse (since the city park took away their porta-potties). I now have to take a 5 gallon water tank up to the park and fill it just to flush the toilet in the house.

Anyway, I got a bit side tracked on that but yes, there's water in the pipes and it does get damn cold!

Bronco Rob
09-24-2008, 11:37 PM
North Dakota isn't exactly known for it's mild winters......you guys actually make me happy i live in a "moderate" area like Cleveland, Ohio.

SigEpBlue
09-25-2008, 12:19 AM
Yeah, but they use sand on their roads instead of the goddamn salt.

Bronco Rob
09-25-2008, 12:37 AM
Yeah, but they use sand on their roads instead of the goddamn salt.

When your city sits on top of one of the largest salt mines under the great lakes, and i am pretty sure they pay taxes in salt, and the city has enough salt to leave large piles of salt at each and every intersection because the plow drivers are too lazy to pull that lever/push the button to shut off the spreader, then, and only then, can you complain.

:)

SigEpBlue
09-25-2008, 12:51 AM
When your city sits on top of one of the largest salt mines under the great lakes, and i am pretty sure they pay taxes in salt, and the city has enough salt to leave large piles of salt at each and every intersection because the plow drivers are too lazy to pull that lever/push the button to shut off the spreader, then, and only then, can you complain.

:)

Um...Rob? Detroit? Salt mines?

Not far from Zug Island, the southwest part of the city sits atop a 1,500-acre (610 ha) salt mine that is 1,100 feet (340 m) below the surface. The Detroit Salt Company mine has over 100 miles (160 km) of roads within it.

http://www.chins-n-quills.com/forums/images/smilies/sFun_nahnahna.gif


Oh wait.... :cry

Bronco Rob
09-25-2008, 12:57 AM
Um...Rob? Detroit? Salt mines?



http://www.chins-n-quills.com/forums/images/smilies/sFun_nahnahna.gif


Oh wait.... :cry

so you don't run out of salt ever either huh?

I assume you have the same problem i have, i don't lose traction on the ice, i lose traction because there is so much salt on the road it might as well be gravel.

SigEpBlue
09-25-2008, 01:07 AM
so you don't run out of salt ever either huh?

I assume you have the same problem i have, i don't lose traction on the ice, i lose traction because there is so much salt on the road it might as well be gravel.

Yeah, exactly! It's scary as hell when you're coming off the expressway doing about 60 (that's what I run when I'm in 4x4 on the e-way), and there's so much rock salt that you're skidding right through the stoplight at the end of the ramp. Fun times. It's especially aggravating when it's so cold that the salt doesn't work, because then you're stuck with little pebbles on top of a layer of ice. Let's not mention the idiots out here trying to drive their little plastic Saturns through 18 inches of fresh snow getting in my way.

MikE2
09-25-2008, 01:11 AM
Maybe doing 60 on snow and ice isn't the best idea :shrug

Bronco Rob
09-25-2008, 01:18 AM
Maybe doing 60 on snow and ice isn't the best idea :shrug

The problem is that it isn't all snow and ice. They haphazardly lay the salt down so that three or four miles is just wet pavement, and then after that three or four miles it's ice, either they are coming to the end of their run, or the truck went empty.

So you're doing 60 on wet pavement, and then all the sudden you're doing 60 on ice. Makes your butt grab the seat sometimes.

Yeah, exactly! It's scary as hell when you're coming off the expressway doing about 60 (that's what I run when I'm in 4x4 on the e-way), and there's so much rock salt that you're skidding right through the stoplight at the end of the ramp. Fun times. It's especially aggravating when it's so cold that the salt doesn't work, because then you're stuck with little pebbles on top of a layer of ice. Let's not mention the idiots out here trying to drive their little plastic Saturns through 18 inches of fresh snow getting in my way.

What's even better is when it's so cold that rock salt won't work, and you still see the salt trucks out putting down salt, not just once, but two or three times.

blackbronco92
09-25-2008, 04:10 AM
Actually, last year Grand Rapids had a salt shortage because we are broke bastards and don't have any money to buy more salt.

Towards the end of the year we were running very low.

I am so sick of ****ing salt.