What Can You Do To Keep Your Pipes From Freezing?
By Steven Symes, eHow Contributor
When you plan to leave a house unoccupied for a period while the outside temperatures dip below freezing, you risk having the house’s plumbing freeze and rupture. By pouring non-toxic antifreeze in your toilet and other plumbing fixtures, as well as taking other precautions, you can avoid damage to the plumbing.
Recreational vehicle antifreeze is not toxic like the antifreeze you use in your car, so it does not pollute the water flowing out of your house. Like the antifreeze you put in your car, the RV antifreeze does not freeze. Pour RV antifreeze down your toilet’s drain opening to keep the water in the trap portion of the drain line from freezing, expanding and cracking the toilet.
Shutting Off the Water
When you leave your house for an extended period during the cold winter months, you need to shut off the water. If one of the water supply pipes in your house freezes and bursts, water can pour into your home unchecked, leading to devastating damage to your house and anything inside it, because nobody is there to witness the flooding and turn off the water. By closing the house’s main water valve, you prevent any more water from flowing into the house’s water supply pipes, preventing any flooding before it can start.
You need to remove as much of the water from your house’s supply pipes as possible, as well as from the plumbing fixtures, before leaving your house unoccupied. If you do not, when you return and restore the water, you may still find that a pipe has ruptured when water starts flowing uncontrollably out of it. After you have shut off the water in your house, you must open both the hot and cold water valves on every plumbing fixture in your house. Start at the lowest level of your house and work your way to the top level. You also must flush all of the toilets to empty the water from the tanks and bowls.
Other Plumbing Traps
Even though you have drained the water out of the supply pipes and the toilets, you still must winterize the plumbing fixtures’ traps as you did with the toilets. Each plumbing fixture has a curved piece of pipe in the drain line that is called the trap. The trap should always be full of water, unless the pipe connections are leaking or the plumbing is otherwise not operating correctly. If the water in the traps freezes, it can damage the trap pieces, so you must pour RV antifreeze down the plumbing fixtures’ drains.