Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.
How To Winterize a Vacation House? Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How To Winterize a Vacation House?

    I recently bought a vacation house in Western Pennsylvania and need to winterize it as I don't plan on being there until the Spring. I live on the west coast and will be spending a week in PA next month to winterize the house. I've called a couple of local plumbers but no one has called me back yet.

    Is winterizing a house a DIY type of job? The house is 2-story, 2 bath and has all copper plumbing, a boiler in the basement and baseboard heating. It is also hooked up to municiple water and has a septic system.

    The house was built in 1900 but remodeled in 1979. There is an old copper pipe in the basement that looks like it burst at some time. Many of the pipes also are not insulated. The house has a crawl space under 50 % of it and an unfinished basement under the rest.

    Can/Should I drain and blow out the whole system? Or can I keep the baseboard heating running on low (40 degrees or so) and just drain the rest of the water system? Or ????

  • #2
    Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

    This needs to be done by a heating pro. Your boiler system demands it. If you don't have enough glycol in the system it will freeze and split. If you don't clear it properly should you drain it, it will freeze and split.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

      Get yourself a case of Non-toxic antifreeze.

      Shut down the water and drain the system. Open a faucet on the lowest floor and start upstairs and turn on each faucet and leave it open so the water drains back. Once that process is all done, get yourself a bucket and go to the water meter and take the meter off. There will be water for you to catch there as well. If you have an air compressor, you can blow the lines out.

      Suck the water out of all the toilets and pour some antifreeze in each bowl and tank.

      Take off the traps for each sink if you can, but not a big deal if you can't. Just pour the anti-freeze down each sink then if you can't take the trap off...and do the same for each shower and tub you have in the home.

      As far as your boiler goes...get a professional that knows how to winterize using anti-freeze. Someone that knows how to drain the system, and pump anti-freeze into the boiler and run it. I don't suggest you touching the boiler at all, and if it's a cast iron boiler, you have the potential of cracking it, if it isn't winterized right.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

        Thanks for the info. I have been reading some more about this and I think I am going to leave the boiler/baseboard heating on during the winter. I will just drain the water lines leading to everything else except the boiler and the baseboard heating. I am assuming the baseboard heating is its own circuit (?) so the hot water lines leading from the boiler to the kitchens/bathrooms etc can be closed off and drained. I am also concerned about the line from the in the basement from the meter to teh boiler. It is not unsulated so I am going to make sure it is properly insulated and possibly wrap in in heat tape as an added precaution. I have friends in the area that will go by and check on the house periodically.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

          Taking out the water meter could get you in trouble with the city in some places as they are sealed with a wire and crimp by the city. Also, what about the live water line you removed it from? The water needs to be
          shut off at the curb stop outside of the building. Water lines should be blown out with air in case there are sags or drops in the ceilings. I agree that the boiler work should be done by a pro. I would have it drained. I would not anti freeze the heating system if your not going to be there in the winter. If you choose to not anti freeze the system and leave the tstat at 40 what will protect it when the power goes out for 3 days in January? Anti freeze unchecked can turn corrosive over time and start leaks at flow checks, ball valves, circulator flanges, etc. With the water shut off there is also no make up water for the heating system if it should develop a leak.
          26+6=1

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

            WRT the water meter, you can leave it on- don't disconnect it on the city side- and wrap 3 feet of wrap on pipe heating cable. 3 feet will run at 6 watts. I used this brand last winter in Toronto, Canada with no heat on and the meter did not freeze. (but I drained and blew out, the copper lines from my side of the meter and the rest of the house).


            WRAP-ON - Pipe Heating Cable

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

              Originally posted by Chemeng View Post
              WRT the water meter, you can leave it on- don't disconnect it on the city side- and wrap 3 feet of wrap on pipe heating cable. 3 feet will run at 6 watts. I used this brand last winter in Toronto, Canada with no heat on and the meter did not freeze. (but I drained and blew out, the copper lines from my side of the meter and the rest of the house).


              WRAP-ON - Pipe Heating Cable
              What happens when the power goes out? Does your heat cable work without power also?
              26+6=1

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

                Well, those are the chances you take in Canada. What happens when you go on a vacation in the middle of winter for a week or 2 when it's -20oC in Toronto? Electric could go out....and your direct vent furnace is then toast...again chances you take. I will say that in 21 years that I have owned my house in Toronto, the only lengthy time the electric went out was 3 years ago when a transformer blew. The power was out from 10 PM to 1 pm the next day...middle of Jan/Feb...real cold, but there was enough residual heat in the house that nothing froze....once in 21 years....not too bad. Growing up outside of Toronto, I never remember the power going out for more than a few hours....but, yes, it could happen. 99% of Toronto homes have basements, so the water pipe comes in underground at 4-6 feet deep...that helps delay the freeze time when/if the power goes out.

                I forgot to mention in my earlier post that INSULATION MUST be wrapped around the pipe and meter with the pipe heating cable directly contacting the copper/brass...all in the instructions.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

                  Originally posted by EJW1 View Post
                  Taking out the water meter could get you in trouble with the city in some places as they are sealed with a wire and crimp by the city. Also, what about the live water line you removed it from? The water needs to be
                  shut off at the curb stop outside of the building. Water lines should be blown out with air in case there are sags or drops in the ceilings. I agree that the boiler work should be done by a pro. I would have it drained. I would not anti freeze the heating system if your not going to be there in the winter. If you choose to not anti freeze the system and leave the tstat at 40 what will protect it when the power goes out for 3 days in January? Anti freeze unchecked can turn corrosive over time and start leaks at flow checks, ball valves, circulator flanges, etc. With the water shut off there is also no make up water for the heating system if it should develop a leak.
                  I disconnect water meters all the time on winterization...my insurance is on the line so I'll do what I feel is necessary when it comes to protecting myself and my insurance company. What happens in New Hampshire doesn't mean it happens in Pennsylvania.

                  As far as your Boiler assessment goes...I can tell you never winterized a Boiler or don't know much about Hydronic Heating or "Non toxic" Anti freeze to make an statement like that. You're confusing car anti-freeze with "Non toxic" anti freeze for Plumbing applications.

                  Have you ever ran a Boiler with Non toxic anti-freeze before? if you have..what were your findings?
                  Last edited by Flux; 10-28-2011, 06:55 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

                    Originally posted by Flux View Post
                    I disconnect water meters all the time on winterization...my insurance is on the line so I'll do what I feel is necessary when it comes to protecting myself and my insurance company. What happens in New Hampshire doesn't mean it happens in Pennsylvania.

                    As far as your Boiler assessment goes...I can tell you never winterized a Boiler or don't know much about Hydronic Heating or "Non toxic" Anti freeze to make an statement like that. You're confusing car anti-freeze with "Non toxic" anti freeze for Plumbing applications.

                    Have you ever ran a Boiler with Non toxic anti-freeze before? if you have..what were your findings?
                    Actually I have winterized quite alot of boilers. I also know that no one ever checks the burst strength or acidic %. Why would you want to anti freeze a boiler if your not going to be there to use it? Wouldnt it make more sense to just empty it? What about make up water if the plumbing is drained? In a year round home I can see putting anti freeze in the system if they have exposure problem with some of the piping but not if they dont. I brought up the meter issue because alot of towns around here tamper seal there meters. If you take the meter out do you leave the service live or shut it off at the curb? Mabye PA doesnt get as cold as NH but I dont think I would have the courage to leave the line from the street live.
                    26+6=1

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

                      Originally posted by EJW1 View Post
                      Actually I have winterized quite alot of boilers. I also know that no one ever checks the burst strength or acidic %. Why would you want to anti freeze a boiler if your not going to be there to use it? Wouldnt it make more sense to just empty it? What about make up water if the plumbing is drained? In a year round home I can see putting anti freeze in the system if they have exposure problem with some of the piping but not if they dont. I brought up the meter issue because alot of towns around here tamper seal there meters. If you take the meter out do you leave the service live or shut it off at the curb? Mabye PA doesnt get as cold as NH but I dont think I would have the courage to leave the line from the street live.
                      Running non-toxic anti-freeze through a hydronic heating system will protect the entire system and areas in where water is trapped and can't drain (baseboard and radiators). Anti freeze will also protect the system in where a trap was made out of fittings, even though making a trap is a major "no-no" in hydronic heating. Blowing the zones out with air is much more work and not nearly as fool proof as running Non toxic anti freeze through the entire system and draining. My father's been doing it for 40 years, and never had a problem with using Non-toxic anti-freeze. Try it one time, and I'm willing to bet you will never use an air compressor again. Using an air compressor only does nothing for protecting the entire system...think about it.

                      I leave the service live at the curb cock when I pull a meter, because I cap it off inside.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

                        FIDLER 4, Flux has the respect of all on this forum. Why not send Him a Private Message and see if Your home is on His Milk route ?
                        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

                          Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
                          FIDLER 4, Flux has the respect of all on this forum. Why not send Him a Private Message and see if Your home is on His Milk route ?
                          Some kind words there my Irish friend, but I have not even come close to reaching that kind of status on this forum.

                          Fidler lives in Western Pennsylvania...I'm on the Eastern side.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

                            Flux, wasnt trying to start a flame war. If thats how it came across, I apologize. EJW1
                            Last edited by EJW1; 10-31-2011, 01:36 PM.
                            26+6=1

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: How To Winterize a Vacation House?

                              Originally posted by EJW1 View Post
                              Flux, wasnt trying to start a flame war. If thats how it came across, I apologize. EJW1
                              I know that, never thought for a second that you were trying too. There is more than 1 way to achieve the same goal...it's quite interesting how each one of us in this trade does something just a little bit different than the other.

                              Regardless, I learned quite a bit since I joined this forum, mostly in the drain cleaning section.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X