When you’re away on vacation, you want to enjoy the moment and not have to worry about what’s happening back home. This, however, isn’t always the case for homeowners. Sometimes, water damage can occur when you least expect it.
A report from Longview News-Journal revealed that water damage is one of the most common insurance claims homeowners file. Leaking appliances and pipes can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to households. What’s more, a burst pipe could flood your home, destroy your furniture, and undermine the structural integrity of your property.
Before you pack your bags and think about the best place to sit on a plane, you need to prep your house, so that you won’t be welcomed with a big and costly mess when you get back home.
Here are seven tips to help you avoid water damage:
1. Shut off Your Water Supply Valves
An easy way to avoid water damage in your house is to switch off the water supply at the main valve. Make sure everyone in your household knows the location of this valve in the event of an emergency.
Once you’ve shut off the main valve, turn on a faucet to see if you did the task correctly. You’re good to go if there’s no water coming out of that faucet.
If you can’t switch off the main valve because you need it for your automatic sprinkler system, you’ll have to manually turn off the supply valves for your water appliances. Some of the most frequent culprits of water damage are washing machines, icemakers and dishwashers. You can stop the water flow by turning the valve clockwise.
2. Check Your Sump Pump
Inspect your sump pump to determine if it’s running in good condition. Fill the sump pit and run the pump to get rid of the debris that has accumulated in the system. Also, buy and install a battery-powered backup source for your sump pump. If a power outage hits your community while you’re not around, your pumping system will continue to do its job.
When you come across problems with your sump pump, look for a waterproofer and not a plumber. Although some plumbers have experience working with these systems, they’re not specialists in keeping water out of your crawlspaces or basements. A waterproofer is your best bet when you need help with sump pumps for flood prevention.
3. Update Your Water Supply Lines
If you subpar plastic water supply lines, you’ll want to replace them with stainless steel. This fix will help minimize the likelihood of leaks while you’re at home and on holiday. Call an experienced plumber if you need assistance in replacing your water lines.
4. Unclog Your Gutters and Downspouts
Debris, such as leaves and sticks, can obstruct your gutter system and flood during a rainstorm. Keep your rain gutters clean as a safety precaution.
Here a few tips when cleaning this part of your house:
- Wear protective equipment, such as gloves and eye protection, when unclogging gutters. They protect your eyes and hands from bacteria-infested debris.
- Purchase a gutter scoop to get rid of the leafy debris on your rain gutter.
- Wash away debris using a garden hose equipped with a pistol-grip trigger.
5. Insulate Exposed Pipes
Going on a holiday this winter? Make sure that your pipes don’t freeze while you’re on vacation. If you reside in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, equip your exposed pipes and faucets with proper insulation.
Also, don’t forget to spigots of your house. Safeguard them by taking out the hoses and covering them with bib protectors.
Lastly, leave your heater on low (temperature should not go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Winter temperatures can cause the pipes to freeze and break. Prevent this from happening by using your home’s heating system.
6. Ask Someone to Look After Your House
If you’re taking an extended vacation, such as an overseas holiday for several weeks, you’ll need to entrust your property to a trusted neighbor, friend or family member. They can look in the condition of your house and address pipe issues they encounter while you’re away. Getting someone to visit your home or house sit at least once a day helps prevent leaks and other pipe problems from damaging your home.
7. Do a Final and Thorough Check before Leaving
Before you head off to your vacation destination, conduct a final inspection of your house. Look for leaks in and around your house. Then, get them fixed as soon as possible.
These seven suggestions will help you prevent a water disaster when you get back from your vacation. Taking extra precautions can save you money and headaches when you’re on vacation.