HUD Winterization Guidelines
A good place to start learning winterization procedures is to study the HUD Guidelines. The following is taken directly from Mortgagee Letter 2010-18 dated May 13, 2010 which is the latest Mortgagee Letter to address winterization.
Mortgagees must comply with local codes and ordinances governing the removal of snow and ice.
G. Winterization Requirements:
Properties are to be winterized between October 1 and March 31, unless, climatic conditions require earlier and extended winterization treatment periods. Properties should only be winterized once. However, a property should be re-winterized if the initial winterization is no longer effective. The winterization process must include cleaning toilets and a complete draining of all plumbing and heating systems. The mortgagee is responsible for any damage to plumbing and heating systems, including sump pumps and wells, caused by untimely, inadequate, or improper maintenance or winterization.
Utilities are to be turned off unless required to protect the property, such as in states where heat is to remain on. For units that are attached to other units or dwellings, water services and utilities should remain on only if those systems are shared with other units. In some cases, it may be cost-effective to maintain utility service rather than disconnect the service. For example, in some rural areas, large fees may be charged to re-connect water service. Mortgagees should use proper judgment to determine the most cost-effective method of managing utilities when re-connection fees exist.
Condominiums and Attached Dwellings
At condominiums and attached dwellings in Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), water services and utilities should remain on if the systems are shared with other units.
Where there is an existing sump pump, the mortgagee shall check to make sure the sump pump is operating. The mortgagee shall leave the electricity on, regardless of whether the property is located in a state where utilities are required to be off.
Utility accounts including electricity,
gas, home heating oil and water, should be in the mortgagee's name until conveyance of the property to HUD.
In states where utilities should remain on, if there is any reason to believe that a mortgagor may abandon a property, the mortgagee shall contact the utility company to request that the mortgagee be notified of non-payment of utilities so that utilities can be transferred to the mortgagee‟s name and the heat remain on if the mortgagor vacates.
Propane and Oil Systems
If the property has a propane or oil heating system, put a "KEEP FULL" work order on with a local supplier in those jurisdictions, where the heat should remain “ON.”
If the water supply source is a public system, the utility company shall be contacted to turn off the water supply at the curb. The mortgagee shall not cut water lines or remove water meters. The water department or provider shall be notified when water is turned off so that a final meter reading is completed.
If the water supply is a private well, the mortgagee shall turn off the well at the breaker panel and tape off the breaker, disconnect the water supply line between the property and pressure tank and install a hose bib on the pressure tank side of the breaker. The hose bib shall be tagged “For Water Testing". All pressure tanks shall be drained. If pump is surface mounted, drain pump housing. If submersible, then disconnect the check valve and drain all pump, suction, and discharge pipes. All fixtures shall be winterized.
Sounds simple enough, right? I’m sure you noticed there was no mention of how to actually do the job – the hands on stuff. It appears the author assumes you know that. Of course, some companies do specifiy when, where and why so you will find dozens of recommendations on how to proceed with winterization. The following is a condensation taken from dozens of procedures manuals on winterization.