Are your pipes really clear?
Are your pipes really clear?

I hired a plumber to do a full-house inspection in one of our rental properties. There was no obvious need, but after 16 years of peace with this property I decided to be proactive in catching any small issues before they became apparent and damaging.

As the thorough property manager that I am and ‘self-proclaimed’ handyperson that I say I am, I tagged along with the plumber to learn as much as I could about maintenance, repairs and anything else in between.

The biggest lesson that day was learning how to properly winterize water pipes. This comes in handy as we start thinking of cold days ahead.

As you probably remember from Physics in high school (or was it Science in elementary school?) water expands when it freezes, which is below 0°C. When this happens to the water caught in your pipes, your run the risk of the pipe bursting or fracturing…. Then the big mess begins.

You see, most people -including me- learn that you just need insulate any openings that may let in any cold air and to turn off the water line by closing the water shut-off (in newer homes the backyard and garage have their own shut-off apart from the main shut-off valve).  We then drain all the water by opening the faucet in the backyard. If you are really meticulous you drain the garage as well. At this point we are told that we’re done! We are ready for those freezing winter days. BUT WE ARE WRONG! It turns out that there is one further step to truly clear the water from the pipes.

The water shut-off may have a small cap on the side. You need to open this cap by slightly turning it (just remember that water should be shut off at this point :-D ).

pipes, pipe's cap, legatto manegment pipes, pipe's cap, legatto manegment

Any water that remains in the pipe will drain through the hole in that cap (my plumber suggested you can take it off completely). I suggest holding a container underneath the cap to catch the water as you open it. Once all water comes out, then you can return the cap to its original place and continue preparing for winter by taking out your shovel. BBBRR.

If you have other Winter-friendly tips please share them in the comments section.

Until next time,


Thaily Toral-Garcia

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