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Winterize Vacant Properties in Freezing Weather

It doesn’t look like we’ll have a white Christmas in Middle Georgia this year, but we’re bound to have freezing temperatures sooner or later.   To prevent plumbing problems and potential water damage to your home, take the proper precautions to weatherize your home and winterize your pipes.  This is particularly important for vacant properties  that aren’t being heated and where no one will notice if a pipe bursts.

The Macon Water Authority suggests the following tips to winterize your house and save time, money, and water.

To prevent exposed valves, pipes, and irrigation systems from freezing, consider these tips:

* Tape exposed pipes — many home improvement retailers have tapes, foams, and other products for sale to use in these instances.

* Wrap them as well, with sacks or protective materials.

* Drain your entire sprinkler system, as the tips of sprinkler heads often continue to hold water, even when inactive.

Tips to winterize outdoor faucets and garden hoses include:

* Disconnect garden hoses from all outdoor water faucets, allowing water to drain from frost-free faucets.

* After disconnecting and draining garden hoses, store them in a place with consistent (warmer) temperatures.

* If hoses are left without draining, do not move them or handle them during freezing temperatures, as they may be brittle and can be damaged.

* If a faucet is not frost free, find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space where the pipe feeds the faucet going to the outside of the home or building.

* Shut off this valve feeding this outdoor line.

* Open the outside faucet to make sure it drains after the valve feeding this outdoor line has been cut off.

Additional tips to winterize your house include:

* Add or supplement insulation for water heaters.

* Protect window air conditioning units by draining their pipes/hoses.

* Remove those window units, if possible, and insulate the area accordingly.

* Clean gutters so winter rains and melting snow can drain properly.

* Keep garage doors closed whenever possible, to keep heat around water heaters and such located there.

* Opening cabinet doors in the home to expose pipes to heat, while leaving a few faucets dripping, can help during extremely cold incidents.

* In vacant properties, set the thermostat to 55 degrees, rather than turning it off altogether.

But always remember:

* Should a pipe burst due to freezing or under any other circumstances, know how to shut off your main water line servicing your home or building.

Of course, a vacant property could be generating steady income each month and providing clean, safe, and affordable housing to those that need it.  To learn how you can transform your vacant house into an income producing rental home, visit


We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.