We’re all itching to go on vacation, especially this year. Getting away from it all can provide a much-needed reset and relaxation from the daily grind. But when you’re away, are you worried about the condition of your home?
Water leaks can happen anytime, but they’re more likely to have disastrous results when you’re not home and don’t know it’s happening. With simple preparations, you can know that your home is secure against most water damage and enjoy your vacation without the stress.
Preventing water damage
Most people think of flooded basements when they think of water damage at home. But there are a number of different ways that a water leak can spring up. Broken water lines attached to appliances like the toilet, washing machine, and water heater can start to leak. Leaky faucets can also cause more serious water damage.
Water damage can be expensive to remedy, your water bill will also increase if there are leaks. The best way to protect your house from water damage when on an extended vacation is to turn off the water. While frequently turning on and off the water can cause too much pressure to be put on the water pipes, turning it off doesn’t harm the system.
How to turn off your home’s water supply
Locate the mains water supply valve in your house, which may be in the basement or in a crawl space. The valve is usually located inside the home where the pipe enters the foundation before it branches to appliances. The water supply valve should have a wheel control or a lever handle which can be turned to the closed position.
If you’ll be on vacation for an extended period or during the cold winter months, consider draining all the water from the plumbing to prevent leaks and bursting pipes.
And if you don’t want to turn off the main water valve to your home, the next best option is to just close the hot and cold water valves on the washing machine hoses to prevent this common leak. Some homes will also have the option to turn off the main water supply but still allow the outdoors sprinkler system to work, allowing your lawn and garden to be watered regularly.
Additional measures to take to prevent water damage while on vacation
Shutting off your main water line is a great precaution when leaving your house for extended periods of time, but there are other things you can do. Checking for damage and that your sump pump is properly operating can save you in the long run. There are also vacation settings to ensure you save money while protecting your home.
Look for signs of damage and leaks
A few weeks before you leave, inspect all the faucets, shower heads, water supply lines, and visible pumps for signs of leaks or water damage. Excessive corrosion also indicates a problem. Check appliances like your washing machine and dishwasher to ensure they are well connected to the water line. Tighten any loose fittings and make sure everything looks to be in working order. Small issues that are fixed quickly will be less expensive in the long run.
While you’re there, you may also want to clean out your kitchen sink drain to prevent food particles from going moldy and smelly. Also, run the garbage disposal, if you have one, to ensure the line is clear.
Check your sump pump
A sump pump ensures that your home isn’t flooded with water coming from outside and underground, such as after a heavy rain. To test whether your sump pump is operating correctly, empty a bucket of water into the basin and check whether it can pump all the water out. Installing a battery-operated back-up sump pump is also a great idea to prevent water damage when the power is out.
Maintain a good temperature in your home
Saving energy is important, so don’t have the air conditioner or heat blasting while you are away. But keeping a reasonable room temperature will help protect your home. In the winter, pipes may freeze if it’s too cold inside, so don’t completely turn off the furnace. Whereas in a too hot house in the summer, condensation forms and can damage doors, cabinets, and flooring.
Installing a smart home thermostat will allow you to monitor and adjust the temperature from your phone wherever in the world you may be. Some even have the capability to check for water leaks and potential water damage.
Set your water heater to vacation mode
Most water heater systems have a vacation mode which helps to decrease energy bills when it’s not in use. If your heater doesn’t have this mode, turn down the temperature to prevent the water heater from continuously heating. Check the water collection pan, if there is one, which may indicate a leak. For extended time away, consider fully draining the water heater for added protection.
Turn off appliances that use water
Another way to prevent water leaks from appliances like a washing machine or dishwasher is just to turn each off separately. This is especially important if you opt to not turn off your main water supply.
If you’re unsure how to turn off the water to your home or prepare your plumbing system for vacation, feel free to give us a call. Plumbing Paramedics is a family-owned and operated business that works with homeowners to ensure you have a properly functioning plumbing system. We’re here to help with anything from small fixes to larger issues. This preventive work will ensure you can have a relaxing vacation with peace of mind about the state of your home.
Do you turn off your main water supply while on vacation? What tips and tricks do you have for saving water and preventing leaks? We’d be happy for you to leave any questions or comments that you have below.