It is always interesting when I arrive at an inspection to find signs on the windows and doors, as well as the water heater and all of the plumbing fixtures, proclaiming the house to be "winterized."
So, what is winterizing, why is it done, and when should it be done?
Winterizing is when a house is prepared for vacancy. This process prepares the plumbing system and components to not be affected by temperature extremes (so the pipes don't freeze). The process should be performed when a house is expected to be vacant through the heating season, a.k.a winter. When completed, the house can now safely sit empty with no utilities, specifically, no heat.
The process of winterizing will involve fully purging the home's plumbing system of water. This includes emptying the water heater, draining all of the piping, and filling the various fixtures with an anti-freeze solution.
For a home inspector, winterization can mean one of two things: One, the house might still be winterized, meaning that no inspection of the plumbing-related components of the house can be completed. Or, two, it can mean that the house was winterized, but has been "de-winterized" (hopefully by a qualified plumbing contractor) and is "inspect-able."
I'll talk more about what an inspector encounters at a winterized property in my next post!
Coming Up Next: My House is Winterized - Part 2: What an Inspector Encounters at a Winterized Property.