Is dewinterizing a house as simple as it sounds?

I’m going to be moving into a foreclosed house within the next couple of weeks and it has been winterized since the home inspection. Our home inspector said it wasn’t a difficult process, and I am pretty handy when it comes to home maintenance and repair, so I think it’s something easily within my comfort zone. I’ve looked online and it really seems like the most important part is making sure you don’t cause the great flood by leaving a spicket open somewhere.

The only reason I’ve seen a professional recommended was to pump air into the plumbing and make sure it will hold, but since the house is fairly new and it had an uneventful de/re winterizing right before thanksgiving, I’m not too concerned about general pipe failure. I’ve heard an estimate to have someone come and do it was 300 bucks or so, which seems excessive. Is there any reason to think I shouldn’t do it myself or any other bits of advice anyone who’s done it before has? I’ll have 2-3 people around to help me if that matters at all.

I wouldn’t do the air in the pipes trick yourself if you don’t have the right equipment.

But I’m a little adventerous, I’d just turn all the sinks/toilets/showers on then turn the main water supply on and wait while someone else ran around and turned stuff off as the water started flowing.

I work for the preservation dept. in a large REO company so I’ve dealt with this a lot, but obviously every situation is different.

That being said, the first thing you should do is get paperwork from the company that did the winterization. That is the point at which they usually pressurize the system with air to check for leaks, and if they didn’t find any you should be all right. The one place where this sometimes falls through is old seals that fall apart after they’ve been dried out for a while. But since the system was winterized before, this might not be too much of an issue.

For the most part dewinterizing is just turning on the water, but the water meter might have been disconnected from the system entirely. If that’s the case, it should still be in the right spot, just not hooked up. Assuming you don’t have any problems there, turning on the water and checking for leaks is about all a professional plumber would do.

Hidden leaks are the big danger. I would definitely recommend having a couple people with you when you turn the water on to watch for leaks. Put your ear to walls (as much as you can) in areas you know there are pipes, like behind shower and sink knobs and inflow areas, with the spigots off. If you hear anything behind the drywall, you might have a leak there. Otherwise, all you can really do is keep any eye out for water damage from hidden leaks.

As far as the cost of hiring someone to do this goes, it comes down to whether that cost is worth it to you in outweighing the chance of there being a hidden leak that ends up causing water damage. Decide which way that balance falls and go for it.

Another way to watch for this is to check the meter after you have tested all the faucets, toilets, etc., and have now turned them all off again. The meter should be stopped – no water being used. If you still see water running through the meter (even slowly) when you have everything turned off, there is a leak somewhere.