I visited a vacant property this week in order to winterize it for the upcoming cold. If the home is vacant, that means no one is there monitoring things. Since no one is there, you need to proactively winterize in order to prevent a burst pipe, which is a nightmare. Burst pipes can cause sever water damage to the unit. If you're in middle of showing searching for a tenant or you've secured one and you're waiting for their start date, you do not want to walk in to the house for an inspection to that mess.
First, you'll want to shut-up of hose-bibs and the main water line. These can typically be found in the utility room or utility closet, depending on the home's set-up. Once you do find then, turn the knob all the way to the right, or if it's a handle, make sure it is perpendicular to the water line. This shuts off the flow of water.
Second, go to all hose bibs and open them. Allow whatever water is in there to completely drain. You can then go back and close them. Repeat this step for all hose-bibs individually.
Third, go inside and open a few faucets throughout the home and all what water is there to drain out as well. You can then close them once you see no more water dripping.
Fourth, set the thermostat somewhere between 50 - 55 degrees. This will ensure the home remains heated while it's vacant and helps to prevent damage.
Even if the home is not vacant, and for your personal home, you want to winterize the hose bibs. Because those are found on exterior walls, they can freeze from the outside and burst and do significant damage as well.
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