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Plumbing Areas to Cover Before Leaving on Vacation

We all take vacations so we can relax and enjoy ourselves, and no one wants to spend their trip worrying about what’s going on back home. One particular area where this is true is within home plumbing, and there are several basic themes you might consider attending to before you head out of town to ensure your plumbing system isn’t at-risk while you’re gone.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re happy to help with a wide variety of home plumbing needs, including 24/7 emergency plumbing services — such as those that may arise if something goes wrong in your system while the whole family is off on vacation. However, we’re also here to offer basic expertise and tips on how you can avoid these situations to begin with. Here’s a full checklist of plumbing areas to attend to before you leave on your next summer vacation.

Turn Off Main Water Supply

One of the simplest ways to prevent any plumbing issues from taking place in your home while you’re gone on vacation is to turn off your main water supply before you leave. This will ensure that even if some unexpected issue takes place, such as a burst pipe or a significant drain clog, your home won’t deal with major flooding and water damage as a result.

In other cases, however, certain plumbing elements will need to retain their water supply, and you will not be able to turn off the main water supply. Sprinklers, for instance, must oft en be left on their normal schedule when you take a trip, especially if the vacation is on the longer side — you can’t risk your grass dying in these situations.

In these cases, you’ll want to go through and turn off water to individual appliances, which is done by finding their individual shutoff valves. These are usually located near the appliance itself, or in its basement location if it’s a buried one.

For this, you’ll simply need to locate the valve and turn it to “off,” and then make sure that all elements have their individual valves closed off to prevent water from running through them while you’re away. It’s generally not necessary to provide any shutoff valves if you’re only away for a day or two, but this is the best way to ensure that your water isn’t doing anything you don’t want it to do while you’re gone.

Consider a variety of items for shutoff, including toilets, showers, faucets, ice makers, pool pumps, hot tubs, dishwashers, water heaters and more. None of these will require water while you’re gone, so you might as well turn them off and avoid any water damage risks if an incident takes place.

Closing All Faucets

In addition, we strongly recommend closing all your faucets completely before you leave the home for any prolonged vacation. This will help prevent small leaks from forming, which can lead to water damage and cost you more in the long run.

This is especially true for those that have separate handles for hot and cold water — we recommend closing the hot water off completely, as most problems with this element occur here.

Switch Off the Water Heater

The water heater is a particularly important component to switch off before you leave on vacation, and this is because it not only risks water damage or other concerns if an issue takes place, but also increases your energy usage in totally unnecessary ways while you’re gone.

If it’s not turned off, the water heater will continue to heat up water for showers and other fixtures throughout the home, and this will cost you while you’re gone because you aren’t actually taking these showers or using this water. The easiest way to prevent this is by switching it off completely before you leave on vacation — be sure to check the thermostat that controls the device in order to ensure it’s not set too high or low so that it doesn’t waste.

For some water heaters, you may simply be able to toggle over to a “vacation mode” setting that’s included. While you’re doing this, be sure to check your water heater area for leaks or any cracks in the tank, which you should have repaired before you leave.

Neighbor Assistance for Long Vacations

If you’re taking an especially long trip, one that’s over two weeks or so in length, you should check with a trusted neighbor to see if they can visit your home once or twice during the trip to help with plumbing system maintenance. Specifically, water needs to be run through certain pipes in your home every so often to prevent accumulation of various sewer gasses in the pipes — these gasses not only smell terrible, but also might create health concerns if they make it too far up your pipes and into your air supply.

If your neighbor is simply able to come over once a week or so, however, this won’t be a problem. They can run water in a few faucets or other important pipe areas (our plumbers can help inform you which plumbing fixtures are most important to run to avoid gas buildup), plus can check around basic fixtures like toilets, sinks and the water heater to ensure there aren’t any leak or water damage concerns taking place. As long as you’re confident you can trust this person, this is a great way to ensure your system is in good shape even if you’re leaving for a long vacation.

For more on how to prepare your home’s plumbing system for an upcoming vacation, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services in Salt Lake City, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.

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