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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Prevent Winter Water Damage in Vacant Properties

12/8/2021 (Permalink)

Winter is officially here as of December 21st, and in Central Illinois, that means we can expect some pretty low temperatures. Freezing temperatures can be devastating to your property. It helps when you can be present and deal with problems in real-time. However, there are properties that are vacant during the winter, either because nobody lives in them or because the people who do live in them are on vacation or spend their winters in a warmer location. This leaves these properties susceptible to damage with nobody around to take care of the damage at that moment. The best thing you can do is to do whatever you can to prevent the damage from happening. The following are some tips on how to do just that.

Shut off the water

You can do this yourself by shutting the water to the house off at the outside meter. You can also call in a professional to do so if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.

Prepare your water heater 

Turn off the gas/electricity to the water heater and make sure to completely drain the water so there is nothing in it that can freeze.

Drain the system and open the lowest faucets

Drain the water from all sources. Drain water from toilets, sinks, tubs, and anything connected to the plumbing and pipe system. Keep the lowest faucet on the property open until the draining process is complete.

Use antifreeze

Pour environmentally safe antifreeze into drains once you have drained all of the water from them. This will help to keep any remaining or trapped water from freezing.

Tape toilets shut

Once toilets are drained, make sure they are closed and that there is a note left that they are not to be used. This will help to prevent unnecessary messes, as well as prevent the need to turn on the water for a short period and start the winterizing process all over again.

Set your thermostat to 55° or higher

If for any reason you do need to leave the heat and water on in your home or on vacant property, make sure the temperature is set to remain 55° or higher to prevent any freezing.

If you do experience water damage to your vacant property this winter, just remember that you can always contact your local SERVPRO® for the cleanup and restoration. We are Here to Help®.


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