The holiday season, between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, sees the highest influx in traveling. Whether you are going away to have obligatory Thanksgiving dinner at your in-laws, returning home for a cozy Christmas with your family, or just plain trying to escape the cold by traveling to somewhere on a beach and in the sun, if you are traveling, you will need to prep your home for your absence.
Tips To Prevent Water Damage During Your Winter Vacation:
- Shut Off Main Water Valve: Cutting off the main water supply at the main shut off will stop water from coming into the home while you are away. This will help to prevent floods or major pipe leaks.
- When you shut off the main water valve, make sure to open up all the taps in your home for at least 5-10 minutes to release water pressure.
- When you return home, turn the water back on at the valve first to allow any rust or sediment to wash out of the lines before you turn off the taps.
- If you are unsure where the main water valve is located, look for your water meter. The valve will not be far. It is a good idea to take some time to show everyone the location of the valve. In case of emergency, everyone will be prepared to shut the water off.
- Shut Off Select Water Valves
- If you plan on having someone check-in on your home from time to time, while you are away, you may not want to restrict all water supply. If this is the case, just shut off select supply lines to limit the risk of leaks.
- The most common sources of water damage: dishwashers, ice makers, and washing machines
- Individual shutoff valves can be found on the supply lines leading to most appliances, toilets, and faucets. They typically have a small round handle. Turn it clockwise to shut off the water flow to that particular appliance, toilet or faucet.
- Set The Thermostat: If no one is going to be home to enjoy the warm and cozy temperature, there is absolutely no need to waste the energy heating up the home in your absence.
- Do NOT shut off your heat completely. You should lower your thermostat to around 55°F. This will reduce your energy costs, but the home will stay warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing. Your plants will also thank you for not fully shutting off your heat.
- If you also lower your humidity settings, you will save in water and help to reduce the risk of condensation issues.
- Shut Off SOME Electric: Shutting off major electrical components will go a long way in reducing your energy use.
- Unplug any major appliances and some lights.
- If you can, put a select few lights on a timer. This will create the impression that someone is occupying the home and discourage any criminal intentions.
- If you have a well, shut the electrical line to the well. This way, it will not continue to pump water while you are gone.
- We do not advise cutting off ALL electric. You need the electric to continue to power important things throughout the home (ie: sump pump, security system, refrigerator, etc.)
- General Maintenance: You should set aside some time to make a lap around the outside of your home to complete any minor maintenance tasks.
- Clean your gutters and downspout extensions
- If time permits, take some time to address any areas that seem vulnerable to water intrusion. Small maintenance tasks can go a long way to preventing water intrusion while you are away.
- Befriend A Neighbor: If you have a reliable neighbor or a friend willing to check-in on your home while you are away, snatch up the offer right away. It is always a good idea to leave a spare key and your contact information with someone you trust. This way, if something were to happen in your home, someone will be around to discover it early and contact you.
A major water leak or flooding makes for a pretty terrible welcome home gift, but accidents happen. If the worse should happen, do not panic. MasterTech Environmental’s Emergency Water Damage Restoration Team is available 24/7 to come to your rescue. Remember, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to begin to develop in areas experiencing major water exposure, so call a professional right away upon discovery. If you suspect the water has been there for a while, and you are concerned about mold development, you should consider a certified mold inspection of your home.