Pre-Vacation Plumbing Checklist
As many prepare to head off on those New Year’s Eve getaways, there are a few last-minute plumbing details that you should make priority on your home’s to-do list before your departure. We all have those routine things to check off around the house before we leave for extended getaways. We turn off all of the lights, check that the stove is off, check that the doors and windows are locked, etc., etc. But few remember to take measures on their plumbing system, a critical component of your home’s well-standing.
Fortunately, it only takes a couple of extra minutes to prep your plumbing for your vacation. And the best part – it will save you money and ensure that no catastrophic water damage occurs in your absence. Here’s what you should make priority:
- Shut off your hot water heater – Traditional water heaters that run on electricity or natural gas are likely one of the largest energy consuming appliances in your home. You just don’t realize it if it’s never turned off for extended periods of time. But, by turning this off during your vacation, you can easily come home to a significantly lower utility bill.
Before you depart, so long as there’s no risk of freezing, you can shut off your water heater completely with the main shutoff valve. There will be a handle on the water heater itself, or you can shut it off at the main circuit panel if that is more accessible. Some even have a “vacation” setting on the temperature control dial. And, if none of these options are available, you can always just turn the temperature dial to the lowest setting.
- Shut off your water supply – There is nothing worse than coming home to disastrous water damage from broken pipes. But, if you’re not home to notice a problem, you can’t take action. When it comes to home repair nightmares, broken pipes can be extremely costly thanks to the huge mess that they create and loss in property damage. However, you can prevent this from happening. All you have to do before you leave for any extended amount of time is shut off the water supply to your home.
If you’re not sure where to find your home’s main shut-off valve, now is a good time to locate it. After all, busted pipes can happen any time, even when you are home. The best way to minimize damage is to go directly to the source and shut off the flow of water. You can often find the shut-off valve near your water meter. Some are in the form of hand-cranks or handles that can be found on a large pipe in basements. If you have trouble finding yours, you can always call your trusty plumber to show you where it is and how to turn it off.
When you do shut off your water supply before going out of town, be sure to open a faucet on the other end of the house so that the water that remains in the lines can fully drain. Then, when you return home, reopen the main valve slowly to minimize pressure on your pipes and fixtures.
For some homeowners, shutting off all water systems may not be an option if you have certain elements, like sprinkler systems, that need to stay on. But, you can still prevent leaks and water damage from happening to isolated areas of your home by shutting off individual valves on lines leading directly to sinks, toilets, dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines.
Make your holiday vacation more enjoyable this season by gifting yourself peace of mind while you’re away from home. And, if you need help or have any questions about your home’s plumbing system, give our team of Tritan professionals a call!