One of the most important aspects of taking care of your lake home is to make sure it survives the winter, so you can return to it the following spring. So, what’s the best way to prepare the pipes at your lake home for the winter freeze?
The degree of protection needed can actually vary depending on the age of your home and its geographic location. Regardless, the most urgent need is protecting your pipes so they don’t freeze and rupture.
In some homes, this may require insulation around the pipes in the attic, around outside fixtures, and crawl spaces. Secondly, if you have pipes outside of the home such as in your yard for pools, fountains, and sprinkler systems they are going to be vulnerable to freeze up.
If you plan to be around the home during the freeze, running pumps for the pools or fountains can keep the water moving so it doesn’t freeze. Sprinkler systems should have insulation around any plumbing that is exposed. It’s also best practice to drain the water from the plumbing system until spring.
List of Things to do Before the Freeze
Here are some things to do before the freeze to protect your faucets and exposed pipes.
- Wrap pipes with insulation designed for pipes which can be purchased at any home repair store.
- Insulate outside walls and unheated areas in the attic and crawl spaces.
- Cover vents that are around the house’s foundation.
- Protect outdoor electrical pumps by leaving them running during conditions below zero in order to keep water moving. If the system is completely above ground, then it would be wise to drain it.
- If you have a pool, keep the pump running and adjust valves so water can flow freely through the pipes. If your system doesn’t allow you to adjust the valves then you’ll want to insulate the system.
- For any fountains you have installed, if the pipes are underground then keep them running. If the pipes are all above ground, drain them.
- For your sprinkler system, any supply lines that are above ground, drain them.
- Cover any pipes in the attic if they are exposed. If you suspect they are not well protected then turn the faucets to drip water to help keep it from freezing.
- Caulk and weather-strip windows and door to cut down on wind drafts
- Storm windows can be installed or use plastic film and cover the windows on the inside.
- Don’t forget to detach the garden hose and shut the water supply off to the outside faucet. You can have faucet covers installed on any external faucets for protection
- Turn off the water supply to dishwashers and washing machines if possible.
Most importantly, remember that unless you drain your house’s entire plumbing system do not turn the heat off. Leave it on with a temperature setting no lower than 55 degrees to ensure your indoor plumbing does not freeze.
It is also a good idea to have a professional give your heating system a check-up before winter arrives. Finally, if you leave close enough it is always a good idea to check in on the place occasionally, or if you are friends with the neighbors leave them a key and have them do it for you.