Winter is only a couple of months away. This is the time of year when people start to get their property ready for the winter months. Whether it’s putting away patio furniture or storing machinery, there is quite a bit to do.

One thing that homeowners tend to leave to the last minute or forget is getting the pipes in their homes prepared for the winter. From draining your system to adding winter-friendly features, here is Drain Pro Plumbing’s guide to preparing for winter in Victoria and Lower Vancouver Island.

When to Drain Your Pipes

There are a few instances when you may need to drain your pipes year-round, including after a repair has been done. However, during winter, anytime you are leaving your home unheated for some time, you should drain them to keep your pipes from freezing.

a pipe showing freezing damage from water that was not drained

Whether you’re going on vacation for two weeks or you’re headed south for the winter, draining your pipes before your leave will help you avoid damage to your system. If your pipes are not drained, any water that has flowed to a source will remain in the pipes until the next time you open the faucet.

If the temperature drops, the water inside the pipes will freeze. As a solid, water is larger than it is in a liquid state. The frozen water will expand and put your pipes at risk of cracking or bursting. Only when the water thaws will you know whether any damage has been done. Meaning you can expect a welcome home flood when you return!

How to Drain Your Plumbing System

Depending on how complex your pipe and plumbing system is, the draining process is rather straightforward.

person opening their bathroom sink faucet to being the draining process for winter

You’ll want to start by shutting off the main water supply of your home. The shut-off valve is usually located near your water meter. The next thing you’ll want to do is open all your sink faucets starting with those on the top floor of your home. This will likely be your upstairs bathroom, followed by downstairs bathrooms, your kitchen sink and any sink faucets you have in your basement.

Doing so allows air into the system and helps the water flow when draining.  Once the lowest faucet in your home has been opened, allow the water from the upper floors to drain completely.

Once this has been done, you’ll want to open any other faucets such as shower and bathtub faucets. You’ll then want to flush each toilet until the tanks are empty. There should be no more water coming from the faucets. At this point, aside from droplets, your system should be drained!

Preparing Your Pipes for Winter

If you choose not to prepare your pipes or plumbing system for the winter, you’re leaving yourself at risk of damages and costly repairs.

There are a few things you can do to prepare your pipes for winter including:

  • Shut off any outdoor faucets at their shut-off valve & drain them – if not drained, there is a chance that any remaining water will freeze and crack your pipes
  • Disconnect & store any hoses – connected hoses with water in them will freeze and back up into the pipe, causing cracking
  • Completely shut off your water if you’re leaving town – if the temperature drops unexpectedly when you’re away, your pipes will freeze and/or burst
  • Insulate pipes exposed pipes – using insulation and heating cables to keep your pipes from freezing if they are not in an area where the temperature can be regulated properly.

Considering the above steps, you can ensure that your pipes are not at risk of bursting due to the cold weather. If you’re unsure about what is feasible for you and your home plumbing system, call in an expert technician to help you out!

Drain System Services in Victoria, BC

Being proactive is always the best approach to preparing for the winter.

pipes insulated with foam since they are exposed to colder weather

At Drain Pro Plumbing, our technicians are happy to help you prepare for winter by assessing the state of your pipes and plumbing systems and suggesting ways to prepare properly for the winter!

If you have any questions related to winter and how to properly prepare your pipes and plumbings system, get in touch with our team today.

Living in the Victoria or lower Vancouver Island area? We can send a team of technicians to your home to help you prepare your pipes for the winter. Contact us today!