A Guide to Draining Your Home’s Plumbing System

Sometimes we forget to appreciate how much our home’s plumbing system does. Unfortunately, it only becomes apparent when you’re in dire need of plumbing repair out of the blue. Many plumbers cannot stress enough to homeowners about keeping up with plumbing maintenance in their homes. After all, the best way to avoid plumbing emergencies is to help prevent them from occurring in the first place.

So, what can you do to keep your home’s plumbing system in working order? It starts with draining your home’s plumbing system.

Learn how to drain your home’s plumbing system to prevent future plumbing repairs!

Why Drain Your Home’s Plumbing System?

As mentioned earlier, the main reason is to ensure your plumbing system is functioning well. Yet, there are other reasons why it’s necessary to drain your plumbing system. Here are a few common scenarios where you would need to drain your home’s plumbing:

  • Water Hammer Issues: Do you notice your plumbing pipes make a racket when faucets are on and off? Do your appliances either start or stop water flow? If so, you’re dealing with a water hammer. That’s where the air is trapped in plumbing lines and moves around, which causes pipes to hit one another or framing. Draining your plumbing system comes in handy since draining and refilling the system helps get rid of unnecessary air.
  • Preparation for Winter: When the temperature drops, it’s important to start thinking about your home’s plumbing system. You want to ensure your pipes are not frozen since they can burst and cause water damage to your home. Draining your plumbing system ensures no water remains that risks getting frozen.
  • Serious Plumbing Repairs: Depending on certain plumbing repairs, you may need to drain the plumbing system in your home. For instance, scenarios where you’re installing a basement bathroom are important since it requires connecting the new pipes to your existing system. Without draining your plumbing system, water will flow out suddenly.

How You Can Drain Your Plumbing System

Let’s say you will be gone, but the weather forecast predicts a week-long cold snap. As you know, this can pose a potential issue with your home’s plumbing system – it can cause your pipes to freeze. In this case, you want to avoid returning home to possible water damage and spend lots of money on repairs. Ensure everything is fine by understanding the steps you need to take to effectively drain your home’s plumbing system.

Before you leave home for a long time, protect your pipes from the immense cold by going through this process to drain out your plumbing system:

  • Shut Off the Main Water Supply: You can typically find the shutoff valve nearby your water metre.
  • Open All Sink Faucets: Start from the top floor to help let air in the plumbing, which allows water flow when draining.
  • Find the Lowest Floor’s Faucet: It can also be the basement, but you want to open it and allow water from all upper floors to drain completely.
  • Turn on Shower & Tub Faucet: Must be done once you’re done with those mentioned above.
  • Flush All Toilets: Doing so helps to empty the tanks.
  • Leave All Faucets Open: Must be done if you plan to be away from your home while temperatures drop drastically. A good tip also is to be mindful of the water left in fixtures. The water can evaporate and may remove the sealant on the drain that usually keeps sewer line gases from rising into your home. Use plastic wraps or wadded-up clothing to seal off the toilet bowls and blocked drains, which helps to keep sewer gases from rising into your home.
  • No Water From Faucets: Besides residual water that drips, no more water should come out. From then on, you’re technically done draining your plumbing system!

Yet, whenever you come back to your home in the winter, you will want to refill the plumbing in your home with water again. See how to refill your plumbing with water from the following steps:

  • Close the faucet on the lowest floor of your home before doing all the upper faucets. Doing so in this order helps air to be retained within the pipes and recharge the system’s air chambers.
  • Turn on your home’s main water supply at the valve to bring water flow back into your pipes.
  • Turn on all faucets, starting with the ones on the highest floor, before going downwards.
  • Let the water and air sputter out from the faucets. If discoloured water appears, don’t be alarmed since it’s normal.
  • Open the tub & shower faucets.
  • Flush all toilets & allow their tanks to refill.
  • Turn off all faucets once the running water clears, starting from the highest to the lowest floors of your home.

Once these are all done, your home’s plumbing system has been effectively refilled and is back to normal!

Having to drain your home’s plumbing system is only sometimes common. However, it’s important in certain scenarios to remember, since you might be in such a situation in the future. Hopefully, this guide has equipped you with the knowledge to drain your home’s plumbing system properly and prevent any plumbing problems from occurring.