Preventing Water Damage When on Vacation

Are you finally booking that month long vacation?  If so, there are some things you should do in order to prevent a potential disaster from occurring while you are away.  Water damage is very expensive and not all types of water damage will be covered by your insurance, especially if no one is in the home for a period of time.  If a pipe bursts while you are away it can do some serious damage.  The longer water sits around in your home unnoticed, the more damage it will do and the larger the clean up and repair bills will be.  Water will destroy everything from your furniture and carpets to drywall and flooring.  The structural integrity of your home’s foundation can also be compromised.  Every precaution possible should be taken to prevent this from happening to you.

Before leaving for your trip you should do a simple but thorough inspection just to be sure that everything looks good.  For starters, you should have a look at all of your pipes and taps to make sure that nothing is leaking.  You do not want to leave for a few weeks and have a small leak become worse during that time.  Also ensure that your windows and doors are properly sealed and check to make sure that there are not any signs of possible roof damage or leaks. 

Also, check your gutters and downspouts.  If they are clogged up, it will eventually cause roof damage from the water pooling up.  You should also have a look to make sure that your downspouts are discharging away from your home’s foundation. 

Inspect your water heater for any cracks or signs of rust that could cause it to leak and cause a flood while you are vacationing.  It is a good idea to also examine hoses on major appliances like your washing machine.  If they appear to be old or have any type of damage, they should be replaced.  If you have supply lines that are plastic, it is more than worth it to switch them to stainless steel ones.  It is very cheap to have them changed and they reduce your chances of problems.

If you have a sump pump in your basement, it is best to check that it is functioning properly.  It is easy to test it and should be done a couple of times a year anyway.  All that is needed to test it is a bucket of water.  Pour water into the sump pit until the pump switches on and watch to ensure all the water is pumped out.  Also, check that the pit is free of debris.  This way you know that your sump pump will kick in if required.

It is definitely ideal to have someone come by regularly to check on your home.  This can be even more important in winter months in case you end up having a frozen pipe which could burst.  Keep your heat on and set to a minimum of 12°C (55°F).  Whoever checks on your home should know where the thermostat is so they can ensure the furnace is working correctly and they should also know where the main water shutoff is.

If it is not possible for anyone to check on your home, you should turn the water off at the main.  Then you can drain the remaining water out of the pipes by turning on the faucets and flushing the toilets.  This will keep your pipes from bursting while you are away.

There is no way to absolutely guarantee that your home will not suffer from water damage while you are gone, but following the information above will greatly lower your chances of dealing with disaster when you return.

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