Re: Winterizing a seasonal home
Posted by PW on March 31, 2004 at 11:34:12:
In response to Re: Winterizing a seasonal home

I have had a summer home we have winterized for over 25 years. Fortunately, the plumbing was installed so it is self draining. However, after I added an iron filter, I�ve had to blow out the system with compressed air, using a compressor and an adapter to attach to a hose bib.

I would not worry about the windshield washer fluid in the septic tank, it will be well diluted. You can always use RV antifreeze which would be a better choice. However, several years ago I started emptying all traps and toilets and plugging them with rags for the winter. I use a suction device which is used on boats to change fluids, makes it a very quick and easy chore.

I have seen pipes which were expanded by ice that did not burst, but will most likely burst next year if water is left in an that point. Keep in mind, that it will be a weak point for a future problem.

The black poly pipe from the well can take freezing without harm, but any fittings in the line will not hold up. I have a small pit outside the house with a fitting that allows me to drain that section of the pipe.

Another suggestion for you is that when you are not there, turn the power off to the pump. If something is going to give, it will when you are not there. Been there, done that!

: We purchased a seasonal weekend house last November. I knew we wouldn't be staying there until Spring, so I tried to winterize the house. I didn't want to be paying for heat month after month when I wasn't going to be there. I did a lousy job, as evidenced by the frozen pipes I found when I went back to the house a few weeks ago. I'm a city guy. Never dealt with a well before, which added a little to my ignorance, but not much.

: This is what I did to "winterize" the house:

: 1. I drained the hot water heater, and the compression tank.
: 2. I emptied the toilet tank.
: 3. I put car winshield washer fluid into the traps for the bathroom and kitchen sink, and into the toilet. It's supposed not to freeze until below 20 degrees below zero.
: 4. I opened the outside spigot to drain water from the house.

: This is what I found after the Winter:

: 1. Three breaks in the cold water pipes.
: 2. Two breaks in the hot water pipes.

: Obviously, I should have realized that the hot water pipes wouldn't empty from what I did.

: Here's what I'm doing now:

: 1. Repairing the five breaks.
: 2. Putting in spigots under the house (it's on stilts) to empty the cold and hot water when I'll be away during the Winter.

: Here are my questions:

: 1. Will the winshield washer fluid screw up the septic system?
: 2. Will just repairing the breaks in the pipes be enough? If a pipe didn't burst from freezing, is it okay, or is it weakened where it will break later?
: 3. Why didn't the black pipe carrying water coming up out of the ground from the well freeze too? It is exposed for four feet. It should have frozen even with the heat on.
: 4. Will what I'm doing work next Winter? Am I forgetting something?

: Thanks for any advice.

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