How to Empty the Water Pipes in Your House

Sometimes, you may need to drain the water pipes in your house for various reasons. For example, you may want to fix a noisy pipe problem, close down a vacation home for the winter, or do some major plumbing work, such as adding or changing the main water lines. Draining the water pipes is not a difficult task, and you can do it by following these simple steps.

What You’ll Need

  • Tubs and faucets
  • Cloth or plastic wrap (optional)

Steps to Drain Your Water Pipes

  1. Turn Off the Main Water Valve
    Locate the main water valve at the water meter and turn it off. This will stop the water supply to your house.
  2. Open the Sink Faucets
    Go to the top floor of your house and open all the sink faucets. This will let air into the pipes, which will help the water flow out faster.
  3. Open the Laundry Tub Faucet
    Go to the basement or the lowest level of your house and open the faucet in your laundry tub or lowest sink. This will drain out all the water from the pipes above.
  4. Open the Tub or Shower Faucets
    Next, open all the tub or shower faucets in your house. This will drain out any remaining water from the pipes.
  5. Flush All Toilets
    Flush all the toilets in your house to empty the water from the tanks and bowls. You may need to flush more than once to get rid of all the water.
  6. Drain the Water Heater
    Turn off the power or gas supply to your water heater and let it cool down for a few hours. Then, attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and run it to a floor drain or outside. Open the drain valve and let all the water flow out of the tank. You may also need to open a hot water faucet somewhere in your house to release any vacuum in the tank.
  7. Drain Outdoor Faucets
    If you have any outdoor faucets, such as hose bibs or sprinklers, you need to drain them as well. Turn them on and let them run until no more water comes out. You may also want to cover them with cloth or plastic wrap to protect them from freezing in cold weather.

How to Refill Your Water Pipes

When you are ready to refill your water pipes, you need to reverse the process.

  1. Close All Faucets and Valves
    Close all the faucets and valves that you opened before, including the drain valve on your water heater and any outdoor faucets.
  2. Turn On the Main Water Valve
    Turn on the main water valve at the water meter slowly and carefully. This will allow water to flow back into your pipes.
  3. Check for Leaks
    As water fills up your pipes, check for any leaks or drips around your faucets, valves, toilets, and water heater. If you find any leaks, turn off the main water valve and fix them before proceeding.
  4. Turn On Your Water Heater
    Turn on the power or gas supply to your water heater and wait for it to heat up.
  5. Flush Out Air Bubbles
    Go around your house and turn on each faucet one by one, starting from the lowest level and working your way up. Let them run for a few minutes until you see a steady stream of water without any air bubbles or sputtering noises. This will flush out any air trapped in your pipes.

You have successfully drained and refilled your water pipes!

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