Summer’s officially here and in full swing. The kids are out of school, the weather is beautiful, and you’re ready to go on vacation for some well-earned R&R. But isn’t there something you’re forgetting? Your plumbing! Yes, I’m sure your plumbing is fairly low on the list of things you’re worried about before you head to the beaches, but it’s something you should definitely be aware of. Unless you have someone watching your home while you’re gone, any number of things can go wrong with your house while you’re away for a week or more. Homeowners across America all too often find themselves coming home to massive flooding, out of control leaks, and more. By taking a few simple precautions, you can mitigate risks for plumbing disasters before your vacation and rest easy during your time off.
Turn Off The Water
The biggest way to curb potential plumbing issues before you go on vacation is to just shut the water off entirely. Can’t come home to water damage if there’s no water flowing through the house. The main valve is your friend in this situation; the trick is remembering to turn it back on when you’ve come back from your vacation. You’d be surprised how many people call plumbers for this, and it’s normally a pretty funny situation.
Drain The Water From Existing Fixtures
So now the water’s off at the source, you need to make sure the water that’s already in your pipes is out and clear. This can be done by simply running the fixtures until the water stops coming out. Here are a few of the things you should drain to make sure the water is completely out of the house:
- Sprinkler Systems
- Water Heater
- Shower Head
- Appliances (Dishwasher/Washing machines)
Set Your Water Heater to Vacation Mode
Your water heater probably has a setting for situations like this. Vacation modes lower the amount of energy your water heater expends during the duration of your absence. This helps you save on energy in a big way, as the majority of the average home’s energy bills comes from hot water. Most heaters have the information for turning on vacation mode on the side of the heater itself, but if yours does not, a plumber will be able to help you here.
Check and Clear Your Gutters
While not traditionally thought of as part of your plumbing system, you don’t want the gutters to fail before you go on vacation. Your gutters facilitate water flow from your roof and relocate it away from the foundation. Unfortunately, as any homeowner can tell you, it’s incredibly easy for gutters to clog with leaves, dirt, and other miscellaneous gunk. This can lead to a flooded roof or foundation, so before you head out, make sure they’re clear and ready for whatever summer rains may strike while you’re away.
Consider Getting a House Sitter
If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, there’s no better way to keep your home safe than keeping an extra set of eyes on it. A friend, family member, or even trusted coworker can swing by each day and make sure everything is ok with your property. This is honestly one of the most effective things you can do, since they can keep an eye on more than just the plumbing.