Avoid a flood and travel with peace of mind using these simple tips to prep your home for your next vacation.
We all worry about our homes when we are away: is it safe, did anyone break-in, did I leave the stove on, is the shower leaking? Vacationing is supposed to be stress-free, but did you know that we are called out for hundreds of floods a year while people are out of town? It is incredibly common for us to get calls from well-meaning neighbors that use our service saying water is pouring out of someone’s home and flooding down the street. We don’t want this to be your home! You’ll want to go through these steps at least a week before your vacation, in my professional opinion, in case you need to have plumbing repairs made before your departure- you want to give yourself plenty of time to get those on the schedule without them being another stressful thing to tackle before you leave.
Shutting Off Individual Fixtures and Water Heater
Shutting off individual plumbing fixtures in your home is a good way to prepare for your escape, and doesn’t require much time or any money. Here is a checklist of little things to do before you leave:
Faucets – Shutting off the angle stop to your faucets will prevent them from leaking while you are gone. Leaking faucets can also be costly on your water bill and, if they are left to leak for too long, this can mean that the faucet body will become eroded over time and that simple fix becomes a pricier replacement.
Toilets – A running toilet can be very costly on your water bill and can potentially cause a flood if there happens to be a stoppage that keeps it from draining as the toilet bowl fills with water.
Water Heater – Storage tank-style water heaters inevitably all leak and this can create huge floods in your home if there isn’t a water heater pan and drain line. Many of the calls we receive from neighbors of flooding homes are a result of their water heaters leaking out of the garage. Shutting off the valve to your water heater can limit the damage to only the gallon capacity of your tank rather than a constant leak of gallons per minute if the tank ruptures.
Washing Machine – One of the leading causes of floods in the Phoenix area are burst washing machine hoses. Hopefully your shut off valves for your washing machine work; they are often seized open, so you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to have these replaced before your vacation if they don’t.
Icemaker – Many homes have water lines to their refrigerators now and icemaker and water lines can be sources of leaks in your home while you’re away. Shutting off the water to your refrigerator is usually a simple project. There is often a shutoff valve right under your sink for your refrigerator line, but it also may be located in an icemaker box behind your refrigerator.
The problem with this method is that it will only stop leaks at the fixture itself and their supply lines. This method addresses your toilets, your faucets, your water heater, your ice maker, and your washing machine, but it doesn’t eliminate flooding caused by shower valves or the plumbing inside your walls, ceilings or underground.
Shut Off the Water to Your Home
Your next, and better, option is simply shutting off the water to your home. This eliminates any possibility of flooding while you’re away, except for the water left in your water heater if it decides to leak.
The valve to your home is usually located at the front of the house beneath the connection for your home. It will either have a handle with a lever on it or a handle with a circle. You will want to test this valve out to ensure it works before entrusting your home to it while you’re away.
The con of this method is that it also shuts off the water to your irrigation and pool unless you have a vacation valve set up for that already. If you’re only going to be gone for a day or two this isn’t the end of the world unless you have landscaping that is dependent on daily watering.
If you want to leave your landscaping on while you’re away, then give us a call and we can provide a consultation on options to install a vacation valve for your home and see if that is the right set up for you. Each home is unique and a vacation valve isn’t always the perfect solution depending on how the pool plumbing is run.
A Smart Shutoff Valve
The best solution for those that want to go on vacation and not stress about a thing related to their plumbing while they are gone is a smart shutoff valve. These recent additions to the plumbing family are nothing short of incredible for those people that like to go on vacation and want to leave their irrigation on, their pool on and the plumbing to their homes. These valves are installed on your plumbing system and they connect to an app on your phone. If the valve detects a potential leak, you will be alerted on your phone from anywhere in the world. If a leak is detected, then you can shut the water off with the push of a button, contact us to come out to your property and inspect the situation and go back to enjoying life. Are you interested in getting a consultation on having a smart shutoff valve installed? Give us a call! We’re happy to come to your home and see if this is the right solution for your family.