The Plumbing Checklist: Vacation Edition

House in subdivision

You’ve waited all year for your vacation. And now, it’s here. But before you bid your home, work and responsibilities adieu – we have some plumbing tips that will help make sure you don’t come home to a major water-logged headache.

Turn off the water
If you’re going to be going away for a while, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just turn off your main water valve. This could help avoid a potential plumbing disaster. Actually, if you’re particularly cautious, you could go ahead and go one step further and shut off the individual water valves to the washing machine, dishwasher and icemaker. Better safe and dry then sorry.

Drain the sprinkler system
You may live in an area where you prefer to water your lawn while away, but if not then read on. It’s best to drain the sprinkler system and shut it off completely because even a small drip can lead to a huge water bill.

Replace your laundry machine hoses
We’ve mentioned before that the life expectancy of your hoses is roughly 3 to 5 years. Before you head out, double check to see how your hoses are doing. If it’s even a question, go ahead and replace them. It’s not worth the gamble.

Check the gutters
Make sure your gutters are in a position to do their job when you’re away. Remove debris, leaves, and sticks in the inlet, and reattach downspout extensions to avoid a flooded foundation.

Do a little yard work
You know those tree roots you’ve been noticing in your yard. Now’s the time to take care of them. Because they’re waiting for you to leave before they make their move on your sewer line. Don’t give them the chance.

Drain and empty the dishwasher and washing machine
A small amount of water can do wonders when it comes to creating mold, mildew and odors. Draining these appliances will help prevent these unpleasant fragrances from greeting you when you return home. Another tip: turn off your ice maker so you can stop the motor from running and using up energy while you are away.

Adjust the water heater
No one wants to waste money, right? So while you’re on summer vacation, set your water heater to the lowest setting possible.

Spot check
Do a walkthrough of your house before you leave and check out every appliance for dampness and/or corrosion.

Prevent odors
The last thing you want to do when walking back through the front door is “what’s that smell?” For starters, clean your traps, garbage disposal and drains. You’re not going to be using the sink when you’re gone, so whatever is lurking in your drains will have plenty of time to make its way out. Clearing the sink traps and cleaning drains and the garbage disposal will help minimize that. Lastly, do yourself a favor and run some ice cubes and cold water through your garbage disposal before you leave. This will push any food particles down the drain so they can properly wash away.

Ask a friend
Call a neighbor or friend to check on your home while you’re on vacation. It’ll give you some peace of mind while you’re away, and they can contact a local plumber in case of emergency.