, ,

Winterizing Your Plumbing System and Signs of Frozen Pipes

As the colder months of the season are upon us, it’s good to take action with some do-it-yourself techniques to winterize your plumbing system. Winterizing your plumbing is a nearly cost-free alternative to frozen pipes. Further to that, we’d like to share with you the signs of frozen pipes and what to look for.

First, here are some steps on winterizing your plumbing:

Hose bibs:

  • Check all hose bibs and other fixtures for leaks.
  • If you find any drips or leaks, replace fixture. You may want to purchase a freeze-proof hose bib, as they are made to keep the water well back away from the end of the spigot.
  • Drain your outdoor faucets if you have a hose bib that is not freeze-proof (not necessary if you have a freeze-proof hose bib).
  • Purchase a hose bib cover – even if you have a freeze-proof hose bib. They are made of thick foam and keep most of the cold away from the valve.


  • Turn off the main shutoff valve or have the water company turn off the service to the house.
  • Starting at the top floor, open all faucets, both indoors and outside.
  • When the last of the water has dripped from the taps, open the plug at the main shutoff valve if possible (you may have to contact the water company), and let it drain.
  • Turn off the power or gas to the water heater and open its drain valve.
  • To freeze-proof the system, empty toilet bowls and tanks.
  • Remove the clean out plugs on all sink traps or remove the traps, if necessary.
  • Once emptied, replace them and fill with plumbing antifreeze mixed with water in the proportions specified for vehicles in your climate.
  • You won’t be able to drain the tub and shower taps. Instead, add at least a full quart of antifreeze.
  • Don’t put antifreeze into a dishwashers or clothes washer.
  • If your home has a basement floor drain or a main house trap, fill each with full-strength antifreeze.

Indoor Drains:

If you notice that an indoor drain is clogged, first check that the tub’s pop-up stopper is opening fully and is free of hair and debris. If the stopper isn’t the problem, then the drainpipe is likely clogged. First, try a plunger.

If this does not work, then you’ll need to clear the trap with a snake.

If you are confident in taking care of this on your own and have done so before, then great — but if you try it, and it still isn’t cleared, or if you aren’t comfortable snaking a drain, then this is what we’re here for! Give us a call, and we’ll come give you a hand to get your drain unclogged.

Here are some do-it-yourself tips for keeping your drains unclogged this winter:

  • The holiday season means lots of cooking, but be sure not to put the following items down your drain/garburator as they can clog your drain: coffee grounds, grease, fats & oils, hair, egg shells, and fibrous foods (celery, corn husks, potato peels).
  • The easy, preventative method: baking soda, vinegar and boiling water down your drains. Learn more!
  • Use tea strainers! Fit all of your tubs and shower drains with strainers to catch the hair (and other substances you don’t want going down your drain).

Lastly, here are some signs to look for with frozen pipes:

  • When the temperature is 0 degree Celsius or lower – this is when pipes can freeze and you should be taking the necessary precautions, as listed above.
  • Lack of running water – you notice that there is limited to no water running from your faucet.
  • You notice some frost on pipes that are visible.
  • Smelly! You notice that something smells bad coming from your faucet. This could mean a frozen pipe, because the only way the odor can escape is back up through your drain/faucet.

Drain cleaning is currently on special for $30 off the service! Give us a call at 604-479-2232 or email service@jjs.plumbing and schedule and appointment today.