How to Drain Pipes for the Winter: Avoid Frozen and Burst Pipes!

Living in any part of the Bay Area, you know one day it can be super warm and one day it can be super cold! As you prepare for the colder winter months where temperatures drop, it’s super important to keep an eye on your home’s plumbing system. Wherever cold air comes into contact with a pipe, there’s a chance that pipe could freeze. One way to prevent this from happening is to make sure every water drain pipe in your home is empty.

How to drain pipes for the winter - Ben Franklin Plumbing Bay aReaPhoto courtesy of Love of Family and Home

Here’s what could happen within your home if you don’t make sure your pipes are free and clear of liquid: water that’s in your pipes will expand as it freezes, taking up more space than the pipes provide. As a result, the frozen metal within the pipes will begin to split apart.

You can avoid this problem – which can lead to broken pipes, costly repairs and the potential for no water supply for a period of time – by investing a little bit of time in freeze prevention.

If you’re wondering how to drain pipes for the winter, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing’s bay area team offers you this easy-to-follow guide. If you follow these instructions, you’ll save yourself headaches down the line when it comes to home repair costs.

How to Drain Pipes for the Winter – Follow These Tips

To start, let’s take a look at how to drain water lines in a house.

1. First, shut off the main water valve. Every house is different in terms of where this valve is located. It can either be on the interior or exterior of your home (try checking near the water meter). If you’re scratching your head and wondering where this valve is, your water supply company can point you in the right direction. Once you find it, if there is a box, open it and turn the knob or handle counterclockwise. You may need to use a rag to turn it in case it’s more difficult. As always, the team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is happy to help you with this if you’re confused or would rather have a professional company take care of this for you.

Avoid Frozen and Burst Pipes - Ben Franklin Plumbing Bay Area

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2. After you’ve successfully turned off the water supply, the next step involves turning on every water fixture in the house until the water stops running.

3. Flush all the toilets (beginning with the top floor in your house). You’ll know the water has drained out completely when the toilet tank is empty. Simply remove the cover to check.

4. Next, you’ll utilize the power of pumping air in water pipes to force any water remaining out of the pipes. Take an air compressor and apply bursts of air to the main drains. This will force out water and reduce the risk of water freezing inside your pipes. If you don’t have access to an air compressor, you can also use cans of forced air to get the job done.

5. If you have a washing machine in your home that you use regularly, it’s best to run cold and hot water through it. This will ensure the water lines are completely flushed out.

how to drain water lines in a house - Ben Franklin Plumbing Bay Area

Photo courtesy of Whirlpool Appliance Repair Self Help Videos

6. Take propylene glycol, which is antifreeze, and pour it into the sinks and tubs within your home. Make sure to buy the non-toxic kind, as this will be used inside your home. It’s very important to take your time when selecting this chemical, as safety is of utmost importance! Be sure to pour the propylene glycol in and nice slowly. This will allow it to push any existing water out of the pipes. You can also add some of this solution to each of the toilet tanks in your house.

water drain pipe - Ben Franklin Plumbing Bay Area

Photo courtesy of Hammer Zone

By following the above mentioned do-it-yourself steps, your home’s plumbing system will be good to go for winter. Remember, when water freezes, it will expand – so avoid the headaches of frozen and damaged pipes by taking the time to proactively prepare for cooler temperatures.

As always, if you need any sort of assistance draining the water from your home’s plumbing system, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is at your service. We offer on-time water drain pipe plumbing services that are backed by a guarantee for customer satisfaction.

We’re committed to offering courtesy, convenience, cleanliness, competence and character with every single service. Give us a call today and speak with one of our customer service representatives to schedule an appointment!