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De-Winterization Tips For Your Home

By Colleen Colkitt

Many homeowners with summer properties like to winterize their home to make sure the house is ready for the winter. Beach-front properties and vacation homes are sometimes vacant during the winter, and therefore the utilities can be shut off to save on bills. Water is drained from the plumbing pipes to prevent freezing or bursting. Even the hot water heater is drained as well.

Although it is beneficial to have a winterizing professional prepare the property for colder months, it is equally important to have the home de-winterized in order to pass a home inspection and check for leaks.

Why do I de-winterize my home?

De-winterizing isn't just for vacation homes. Usually properties that are vacant for an extended period of time, like a foreclosed home, need to be de-winterized as well because the water was turned off during the time of vacancy. When a plumbing system is de-winterized, the system is charged so that the piping fills with water once again. The process will ensure the plumbing, heating and cooling systems work properly, and also to check for any leaks or deterioration to your system.

Some banks require frequent checks of these types of facilities to make sure they're functioning and safe. Banks require appraisals sometimes for VA and FHA loans.

1. Inspect the exterior

This is one of the easier steps you can do. If you're trying to keep costs down, examine the exterior of your property first. This can be done by checking any outside outlets with a receptacle tester, checking siding and windows, and looking for any damage to your foundation.

Also check hoses for leaks, and if you have an outside grill check its burner and gas tubes as well. Check the hose by letting the water run for a little bit, and tending to any leaks the hose may have.

2. Fans and Air Filters

The cooling utilities haven't been in use all winter presumably, so be sure to have your HVAC system checked and fixed if necessary. A professional should attend to the heating pipes, fuel, electricity, boiler, chimney and venting of the property. As for the fans and filters, clean any dust and fix any damage that may have occurred and accumulated during the winter months.

3. Water Pipes

Look for any frozen or ruptured areas in the piping, and do not charge or refill the pipes with water until all breaks are fixed.

On the inside, remove aerators from faucets on all sinks and drain any build-up. Open up angle stop valves in all faucets including bathtubs, and showers, and put all appliances in the off position. Open the hot water heater's supply line and slowly let the water out. After opening the drain valves, close them and check the tank's salt levels in your water meter system. It should be properly full at this point, and the float control should move freely in the salt tank. Then reset the bypass valve to be in the "out" position, and power up the water softener. If there are any leaks around the water system, check with a plumber for a permanent fix.

Another way to prepare pipes is to turn up the heating system or even apply heating tape to frozen portions of the pipe. This is a slow and safe way of thawing any frozen pipes.

De-Winterization Tips For Your Home

These tips will help you pass home inspections, as well as save money on appraisals. However, if there are any damages that cannot be easily fixed, a temporary fix like bandaging a pipe might result in larger and more extensive damage. Always check with a plumber to make sure no harm was done to the main water line or meter, as this is an important element to your water system!

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