I recently bought a house and am now trying to winterize it. I found out that the outdoor shower has no on or off cutoff water valves, so what do I do before it starts to freeze? The previous owners just completely shut down the house, all water etc., for the winter, but we want to enjoy the house. Is it a big expensive job to add valves? i.e. cutting through the basement roof etc. co can I just cover the pipes outside with a protective cover? Thanks
If plumbing supplies an exterior shower that is subject to freezing weather then any standing water must be drained or it may break the pipes as it freezes. Just shutting the valve off will not remove the water beyond the valve. Depending on the pipe material, your plumbing skills, and how the piping is configured it would be wise to install valves on the lines that will be subject to freezing weather, but they should be inside if possible. It might be a good idea to also install a "T" connector (also inside) at a low point to the line in order to drain any standing water that would otherwise damage the pipe if frozen. You could attach a hose bib (spigot) to the "T" to make winterizing a simple job. "Ball valves" are best for the shut off valves.
You may be able to wrap the pipes with heat tape. But the cost of electricity to keep the pipes warm all winter, would probably be more than it would cost to install proper stop and waste valves.
Since you'll want to drain the lines for winter, you'll want to install what's called a "stop and waste valve". This type of valve allows you to shut off the water, and then drain the lines right at the valve.
Notice the little thumb screw on the side of the valve, that allows water to be drained.
This valve will have to be installed in conditioned space, typically just before the pipe leaves the heated area.