Antifreeze Alternatives for Protecting Your Vacation Home’s Plumbing

Alternatives methods for Preventing your Vacation Home’s Plumbing Pipes from Freezing

By Mark J. Donovan




Question: Is there a more environmentally friendly solution for preventing pipes from freezing other than using antifreeze? We have used antifreeze solution for years in our Lake Tahoe vacation home; however, I have become increasingly concerned about pouring antifreeze down the pipes.

Answer: I understand your concerns. All of us need to be more conscious about our environment and it truly starts in our homes.

To begin with, there are a number of non-toxic antifreeze products on the market today that are designed to be used in the home.

If you are using antifreeze, make sure you use one of these types. RV antifreeze products are specifically designed to be used in the home. It is non-toxic and odorless and it is safe to use with steel, copper, brass and plastics. When used at full strength RV antifreeze is designed to provide freeze protection to -50°F. You should be able to find RV antifreeze at any home improvement or hardware store.

If you would still prefer not to use antifreeze, then you have a couple of other alternatives to prevent your home’s pipes from freezing.

First, you can choose to drain both the supply and drain pipes. Usually it is a good idea to hook an air compressor up to the supply lines to blow out any residual water. Also, you will want to seal the drains to prevent any gasses from working their way into the home. This includes plugging the toilet bowls, e.g. with a cloth rag.

RV-Antifreeze for protecting drain pipes in winterized vacation home.

Second, you can wrap heat tape around the supply lines and just drain the drain pipes and toilet bowls/tanks. Again, you will need to seal the drains. This method is a little risky if your home looses power for an extended period of time.

Lastly, you could choose to leave the heat on at a low temperature (e.g. 50°F – 55°F), to prevent the need for draining the pipes or using an anti-freeze.

All of these alternative methods for protecting your vacation home’s plumbing pipes have their pros and cons. However, if you plan on leaving the vacation home closed up for the entire winter, then draining both the supply and drain lines makes the most economic and environmental sense.


For information on installing a shower pan membrane liner for a ceramic tile shower, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation eBook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.

For information on how to tile a custom ceramic tile shower, see the “How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower eBook” from HomeAdditionPlus.com. This eBook will quickly provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to measure and install ceramic tile in a shower, including the installation of tile on shower walls, floors and curbs. It provides detailed instructions for every step in the process of tiling a custom ceramic tile shower and is loaded with instructional pictures!

Related Information


Additional Plumbing Resources from Amazon.com


Get Free Bathroom Remodeling Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on a bathroom remodeling project from one of our pre-screened and licensed bathroom remodeling contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your bathroom addition price estimate.