Winterizing Your Home

The Department of Water Management offers its customers the following tips to prepare for the cold weather ahead.


  • During hard freezes keep kitchen and bath pipes exposed to warm air by leaving cabinet doors open during periods of extreme cold.
  • Don’t turn the thermostat too low when leaving for work or extended absences. Keep the temperature set at normal nighttime settings.
  • Locate your master shutoff valve, label it and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is. (Master shut-offs may be near the water heater or the washing machine. More than likely it is located where the water line comes into the house from the street. If a pipe bursts anywhere in the house, use this valve to turn off the water supply to minimize damage.)
  • If you are going to be gone for any length of time, shut off the water supply at the main valve.
  • Do not leave the water running; this wastes water and will not always prevent pipes from freezing.


  • Disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses. Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe.
  • Protect outside faucets with insulated covers available at hardware and building supply stores.
  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.
  • Close foundation vents and seal cracks in basement, crawl spaces or along outside walls.
  • Wrap pipes in unheated areas with weatherproof insulation. Don’t leave any gaps.
  • Winterize irrigation systems, including your backflow prevention device.

Blackflow Preventer Winterization

Follow these steps to winterize your backflow preventer.
  1. Shut off water to the backflow preventer. Most have an isolation shut off valve located below ground before the backflow preventer.
  2. Open test cocks on the backflow preventer to drain all the water from it.
  3. If there are unions at ground level you can remove the backflow preventer; if there are no unions, you will need to insulate the backflow preventer so it can’t freeze.
  4. If you choose not to remove your backflow preventer, please view the video below to protect your backflow preventer from damage.
For information on conservation and efficiency, contact the Department of Water Management at 919-560-4381.