How to avoid water damage when you are away

The spring time is often a great time for people on Vancouver Island to get away for a well deserved vacation and rest and recharge. The last thing you want after a relaxing vacation is to come home and find a plumbing disaster waiting for you. Here are some helpful tips to help prevent any plumbing issues from happening while you are away.

Shut off the main water supply valve

It is always a good idea to shut off the main water supply to your home if you are planning on being away for an extended time. Doing this will help stop water from flowing through the pipes and supply lines inside your home, which goes a long way to preventing leaks that can cause major water damage if left unchecked. Even if you are not planning on going away on a vacation, it’s always good preventive maintenance to check the main shut off valve annually. If you notice the valve is no longer operating as it should, give an experienced plumber a call and have it replaced before you leave.

Individual Shut-Off Valves

It is not always feasible to shut off the entire water supply to your home while you are away on vacation. You may have sprinklers on a schedule or other appliances that need water while you are away. You can still prevent leaks and other issue from happening by using the individual shut-off valves. Your kitchen and bathroom faucets should have shut-offs for both hot and cold water supplies. Your toilet will also have a shut-off valve. If you find that your supply lines don’t have shut-off valves or if they are stuck and you cannot close them, you should have a plumber repair or install new shut-off valves before you leave.

Fix any Minor Leaks

Even the smallest leak can lead to a major plumbing issue in a short period of time if allowed to go unchecked. A dripping faucet or a leaky toilet can quickly turn into a plumbing nightmare without prompt repairs from a plumbing expert. Even if the leak doesn’t lead to a burst pipe or other major issue, the constant flow of water can actually lead to a spike in your water bill.

Drain the Supply Lines

This tip is a must if you plan to be away from your home for a long period of time during the winter. Many people who spend a number of weeks or months away from their home on Vancouver Island will often keep the heat set at a low temperature. This is a cost-effective measure when it comes to energy bills, however without the proper precautions, it can lead to expensive plumbing issues. As water pipes get cold, the water inside will freeze and expand. This can quickly lead to a burst pipe, which will cause major damage and potential safety hazards if water is allowed to come into contact with electrical outlets and connections. To keep this from happening, empty the water from their supply lines by closing the main valve or individual shut-offs and running the faucets until the water in the supply lines has run out.

Upgrade Old Supply Lines

If a supply line has become old or worn down, there is no telling how long it will be until it bursts or springs a leak and floods your home with water. Supply lines to large appliances like a washing machine in particular can be susceptible to deterioration over time, especially if the lines are made of rubber. The rubber in these lines can crack and shrink after a few years. If you haven’t changed these rubber lines you may want to do so before leaving on vacation.

Test The Sump Pump

If your house has a sump pump in the basement, make sure to test it before you leave. Sump pumps are designed to keep water from flooding in your home by pumping it directly out through the main drain in your basement. If the sump pump fails to automatically engage when the water level reaches a certain height, this is a problem that needs to be addressed before you leave on vacation. Another precaution you can take to make sure your sump pump will work at all times is to hook up a battery back up to the pump. This will allow the pump to keep moving water out of your home in the instance of a basement flood, even if the power goes out.

For more information about keeping your home safe from water damage and plumbing disasters, feel free to contact the plumbing specialists at CityWide Plumbing & Heating. You can also arrange to have a full inspection and repair of your home’s plumbing system before you leave on your next vacation.