Many people have begun planning for this year’s summer vacation, preparing for some much needed rest and relaxation. As vacation planning starts, it’s important to remember to prepare your home for your time away. Here, the professionals at Flamingo Plumbing and Backflow provide guidance to ensure you don’t return home to find an unexpected plumbing issue which has damaged your home.
- Turn off the Water. When you turn off the main water valve before you leave on vacation, you can prevent considerable damage should a plumbing issue arise. If you don’t turn it off and a pipe burst or a leak happens, water will spill and stream causing damage to your home. If your main valve needs to remain on for your pool pump or sprinkler systems, you can turn off the water at each unit or appliance (dishwasher, sinks, washing machine, toilets, etc.) to minimize issues should a plumbing problem occur. Should you have a house sitter or pet sitter coming to stay while you are away you can leave the water on in the areas he or she will be using. As a bonus, shutting off the water at your main valve or at individual plumbing units or appliances while you are away conserves water and saves you money. When your vacation extends for longer than a week, you’ll want a friend, neighbor, or service professional to visit your property to turn the water back on and run water through the pipes, flush toilets, etc. to prevent dry, cracked pipes as well as the build-up of sewer gases in your pipes.
- Check for Drips and Leaks Before You Go. Americans use nearly 100 gallons of water a day per person. Checking for drips and leaks can conserve water and save you money. You can easily inspect pipes and fixtures for drips or leaks by ensuring all spigots close tightly with drips and checking pipes and the areas surrounding them for leaks, drips, or stains. If you find a leak, have it repaired by a professional plumber before you go on holiday.
- Adjust the Air Conditioning. Before leaving on your vacation, turn up the temperature on your air conditioning. You don’t need to shut it off completely but turn it up to around 85°F so it will still come on occasionally keeping your electronics and house plants cool enough. Having the AC come on regularly can also act as a safety measure deterring would be thieves. In addition, bumping up the AC will also save you money while you are away, nearly two percent for every degree. Consider changing your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) filters regularly, too. Doing so will help your system work more effectively and help to prevent any malfunction while you are away.
- Don’t Forget the Water Heater. Your water heater likely has a way to change the setting for vacation. Setting your water heater to vacation or low will allow it operate conserving energy while you are away. If you prefer, you can even shut it off, provided there is no house sitter or pet sitter who will need hot water during your vacation. As you set the water heater, use the opportunity to check for leaks, drips, or pooling and have repairs made as needed.
- Prepare Drains and Toilets. When you are away for an extended period, bacteria can build up in drains as well as toilets. To prevent this from happening, use a mixture of 1 cup water + ½ cup vinegar to flush the drains before you go. For your toilets, pour a ½ cup of chlorine bleach in the bowl to eliminate bacteria.
One Final Tip
Always leave the name and contact information of a trusted plumbing service, like Flamingo Plumbing and Backflow, with your neighbor, house or pet sitter should any plumbing issues arise while you are away enjoying your vacation.