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When Should I Drain My Pipes For Winter?

A simple question with a not-so simple answer:

In Winnipeg, the answer can seem kind of obvious – you don’t drain your pipes. You need water, after all, and shutting off your water main and draining your pipes will make water inaccessible. The answer actually isn’t that obvious, though – you’ve got to think about winter vacations.

You see, if you’re on vacation in the winter, and for some reason your furnace fails, your pipes can freeze and explode. Insurance companies are not keen on this happening, so they almost never cover for burst pipes as a result of frozen water, especially if it happens while you are on vacation.

There’s often coverage extended if you have someone who comes to check on your house regularly, but if you want to be especially careful, you should drain your pipes before you leave for your vacation – do so the night before if you think you can go all morning without using water. Otherwise, consider draining your pipes right before you leave.

Other Pipes to Drain

You’ll also want to think about when you should drain your pipes if you’ve got a property that isn’t properly winterized. In most cases, this is if you’ve got a cabin. You’ll need to drain your pipes as soon as you’re closing up for winter.

Another factor you might not be considering is draining any fixtures outside your house/cabin – namely the spigot your hose would attach to. You’ll need to drain your hose and the spigot completely, or they may end up cracking when the water inside them expands into ice.

The right time to do this is a bit tricky – you want to do it before the weather drops below zero, but after you’ve finished any outdoor activities for the season. Watch the forecast carefully – if the temperature is going to drop below zero at night, it can be helpful to drain them, then use them again, as necessary (draining them again when you’re done).

The draining process for outdoor and indoor fixtures is the same. You turn off your water supply valve, turn the fixture on full blast, and wait until there’s no more water trickling out. From there, turn off the fixture, and you’re good to go.

Insulating Your Pipes

Of course, you can always consider insulating your pipes and fixtures in order to keep them warm all winter long. The amount of time and money this can take will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project, but for some property owners it’s quite worthwhile.

Here at Clean Line, we offer a variety of Winnipeg sewer and drain services, as well as a full suite of other plumbing services. When you need to winterize your pipes, give us a call – we can help you keep everything properly insulated, drastically reducing how often you’ll need to drain your pipes.

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