Compressor and Air Hose
- Your compressor is the most important tool for doing winterizations. A standard 6-Gallon Pancake Compressor is ideal for pressurizing and draining a plumbing system. If you are located in a colder region, it is recommended that you buy an 'Oil-Free' compressor.
-More often than not, the utilities at a vacant house have been deactivated, making a generator a necessity. Due to the high cost of this tool, it is very important that you make sure you find a reliable brand. We have found that an 1850 Watt Generator can handle any job.
- When draining a water heater, it is important that the water is drained to the exterior of the house, compared to a single floor drain. We recommend carrying two 30-Foot hoses at all times.
- If you live in a cold area, it is important to make sure there is no water left in the hose once your winterization is done. If this happens, your hose can freeze on the way to your next stop.
- Carrying multiple extension cords goes hand-in-hand with having a generator. It is a necessity.
- Anti-freeze is to be added to all drains after the plumbing has been pressurized. Most clients prefer a pink color.
- It is recommend to buy anti-freeze in bulk amounts. Even if you don't save a lot on material cost, you will still save money with less trips to the store.
- A plunger is need when adding anti-freeze to a toilet. It is used to push the water out of the bowl and back into the trap. Once the antifreeze is added to the bowl, use the plunger to push the antifreeze back into the trap to prevent freeze damage.
Winterization Toolbox or Bag
Once you have acquired your general tools, you should buy a durable toolbox or bag to hold an assortment of the smaller tools you will need for winterizations.
- A pipe wrench serves many purposes on site. During a winterization, it is most commonly used for removing water meters.
(**- In some areas, it is considered unlawful to remove water meters)
( You may have to call the city to have a water meter removed. )
- A pipe wrench can also be used to rip off door knobs to access the house, but be careful not to damage the door.
- A vice grips can also be used to remove a meter, if that is your preference. It is a useful tool, as you never know what you may encounter on-site. It is often times used to remove hoses from the washer hookups or to open the water heater.
- Ties are used on the main water shutoff. If the house has a meter, the house-side and street-side shutoff valves should be tied off. This cautions anybody from turning the water back on without the assistance of a professional.
- Some clients require a certain color of zip-tie from year to year.
- Always make sure you have an abundance of tape in your toolbox. A generic blue tape is the easiest on surfaces inside the house, and is widely used.
- During a winterization, you should be putting a winterization sticker on all fixtures, including but not limited to: sinks, bathtubs, showers, dishwasher, water meter, water heater, electric panel. Depending on your client, you may have other postings to put up as well.
- Plugs and caps are required if you do remove the meter. It is very important to cap the street side valve after removal to prevent possible flooding.
- You may find that you will need to install a temporary cap on a line to complete the pressurization of a plumbing system.
- It is recommended to buy PVC plugs for cost efficiency. The most common sizes on meters are 3/4" and 1".
That concludes our list of REQUIRED tools. You should also fill your toolbox with other basic supplies (or have a 2nd toolbox) such as screwdrivers, drill bits, utility knife, scissors, hammer, wrench, needle-nose pliers, bolt-cutters, gloves, caulk gun, crow bar, shears, etc...
Lock Change and Securing
- Your drill is necessary for two things: Drilling out the deadbolt if needed, and assembly/disassembly of the locks. When putting on a new lock, you must have a long bit, or you will be unable to reach the screws.
- We recommend buying acordless combo kit that includes a drill, sawzall, circular saw, a flashlight, and two batteries with charger. An entire kit costs anywhere from $400-$500.
- It is a good idea to have a variety of bits. It is very easy to break a drill bit while drilling out a deadbolt.
- Often times, you'll be required to use more than just a phillips bit. In older houses it is common to see the use of flathead screws. In heavily populated areas, it is likely that you will come across houses that have been boarded shut by the city. In this case, you will likely need a square or star bit to remove the boarding.
Long Phillips Head and Flathead Bit
- You should already have a pipewrench on hand for winterizations. Aside from picking the lock with a card, this is the quickest way into a house with no deadbolt.
-The lock can be removed by fitting the wrench around the base of the handle, and simply pulling the knob off. However, you must do it in a fast motion to avoid denting the door. Depending on the quality of the lock, you may be able to adjust the wrench onto the knob, and twist the lock open.
- If you rip the handle off using a pipe wrench, you will still need a small needle nose pliers to open the lcok.
Grass Cut and Trimming
- We have found that the best mower to use, is a standup ride-behind with zero-turn capability. These are easy to use and extremely fast, and very easy to transport. They are a must for high volume areas such as a big city.
- A weed trimmer is an absolute necessity.
- The leafblower is a handy tool that can quickly clear driveways and sidewalks of any grass clippings.
- It can also be used for other purposes, such as clearing out gutters.
- You should always keep a broom in the vehicle. There's always a chance that your leaf blower will break down, or you will run out of fuel on site.