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  • Writer's pictureZayed Ahmed

What Is Winterization? A Step-By-Step Guide to Winterizing a Property

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

The concept of Winterization can be foreign to many, but for a vendor or a contractor it is essential that he learns the full scope of the work in order to complete the winterization properly on a vacant property. In this video I try to explain all the associated terms related to Winterizing a property.

Video Transcription

Hello, this is Zayed Ahmed from ASL BPO, and welcome to another edition of Property Preservation Training. Today, I will be talking about what a Winterization means and the different type of winterizations that are done depending on the type of heating system present in the property.

On my earlier video on the different type of work orders I mentioned briefly, what a Winterization order is. Today we will go a bit further into details. First off, there are three type of Winterizations, which are Dry Winterization, Steam Wet Winterization and Radiant Winterization.

Dry Winterization: Dry Heat Systems which by far are the most common, heat the property through forced hot air. As previously discussed, properties with Dry Heat systems will have a Furnace to heat air and vents and registers on walls and floors to circulate the hot air in the rooms.

Steam “Wet” Winterization: Steam Heat systems are those that have a Steam boiler, which generates steam that runs through radiators to heat the house.

Radiant “Wet” Winterization: Radiant heat systems will have Hot water boiler instead of a Steam Boiler, they will also have expansion tanks and hot water running through either radiators or copper tubing located in the floors, walls and ceilings.

Irrespective of the heating system of the house, all winterizations will have the following work completed:

A) Water supply has to be shut off, usually at the water meter, which is then zip tied to secure the shut off valve. The circuit breakers in the electrical panel box is also turned off, unless there is sump pump or dehumidifier present which should be kept running if the property has electricity.

B) All Remaining water in the hot water heater, toilet bowls, sinks and the plumbing lines has to be drained.

C) Using a generator and an air compressor, a pressure test must also be performed to check the plumbing system of any leaks. If the pressure meter, shows reading of 35 PSI or more, it means that the pressure test passed and no leaks are present. On the other hand, a reading of less than 35 PSI means that pressure test failed and that the plumbing systems has leaks.

D) Non-Toxic pink antifreeze liquid has to be poured on all drains, toilets and water heaters. The liquid chemical prevents formation of ice in the plumbing lines and prevents freeze damage occurring in the winter.

E) Winterization film tapes has to be placed over sinks an toilets and client’s custom winterization sticker on front door or window and on all items in the house which has been winterized.

F) Wet Heating Systems (Radiant, Steam, Hyrdronic or Hot Water Baseboards):

1) The boiler, heating loops and expansion tank also need to be drained of water and need to be filled with non-toxic antifreeze (propylene-glycol) in order to winterize them.

2) As required, Repair or Install a Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) valve between the furnace and the main feed of the water supply that is adjacent to the furnace.

3) Heating system should be returned to normal operating temperature and pressure. The entire system needs to be checked if it can properly operate. Heat must be kept "on". With a tape on the furnace electrical switch stating "Do Not Remove Tape. Do Not Turn Off.”

4) Thermostat should be kept on at 55-degrees.

Hopefully this video will help you understand better what a Winterization is and help you to differentiate between the different types of winterizations as well. For further knowledge, you can also see the video about different heating systems.

Additional Information

Winterization Guidelines: HUD/FHA, FNMA, FHLMC all have slightly different guidelines for winterization that needs to be followed when servicing their properties. Most of these guidelines are provided by the nationals (MCS, Safeguard, etc.) to their vendors. Below are links to some of them:

Winterization Checklist: Many nationals now require winterization checklists to be filled up and uploaded into the work order, especially on HUD properties. Below are links of Winterization Checklists for MCS and Safeguard, however most nationals have links to their checklists to be downloaded from their resource centre.

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