Homeowners tend to overlook their plumbing system when preparing for an extended vacation. You could return to a home with water damage and without a reliable supply of water. A few practical steps can eliminate the risk of water damage. Here is an outline of how to prepare your plumbing.
Preventing Extensive Water Damage in Your Home
It is always advisable to turn off your water supply before leaving for a vacation. Shutting off the water is crucial for protecting your home from water damage through leaks or burst pipes. The last thing you want is to find the house flooded and with a foul smell when you return.
Leakages can start from small drips along the length of the piping. If there is high water pressure while you are away, the leaks will advance into heavy flooding. The time you spend on vacation could be enough to turn a crack into a massive rupture.
Leaking pipes underground tend to attract tree roots in their direction. The tree roots get into piping and drainage channels, causing massive clogging. The longer it takes, the more extensive the damage will be on your property.
To prevent damage to your home, it is advisable to turn off the main shut-off valve before going on a vacation. You can find the main valve in the basement, crawlspaces, concrete slab, or the attic. You might also find the main shut-off valve in a utility box near your front sidewalk. Shut off the valve before draining water from fixtures.
Protecting Water Pipes in Winter
It is also advisable to drain the water out of the hoses, especially during the winter season. When water freezes, it expands and traps the rest of the fluid in the piping. As water accumulates, the pressure increases to the point it can burst metal pipes.
You can prevent damage from freezing water by letting it drain out. There are several reasons why letting water out is essential. First, even a trickle keeps the water moving and therefore prevents it from freezing and accumulating.
The other reason is to ensure there is no water in the hoses or piping when the cold season arrives. Outdoor water fixtures are particularly prone to ruptures from freezing water. Also, piping going through the attic and crawlspaces can be vulnerable if it lacks adequate insulation.
You should always ensure that you unplug hoses from a water faucet. The piping going through unconditioned spaces ought to be insulated. You can use rags or newspapers as temporary insulation to minimize damage from freezing temperatures. But using them with the appropriate grade of material is the best long-term solution.
If your pipes are already frozen, open the cabinets and shelves to allow warm air to circulate to other parts of the building. You can thaw your plumbing with a rug damp with warm water. You can also consult Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Atlanta for prompt plumbing services. We have a long history of happy, satisfied customers who we’ve been able to assist with their plumbing issues.
Leaking Faucets and Running Toilet
Your plumbing consists of multiple pipes channeling water to various parts of your home. Over time, they can become corroded and may develop leaks. If there is a leak, water will flow freely and flood parts of your premises.
A faucet drips only a few drops per minute. But if neglected, the total amount of water loss could be as much as 3000 gallons per year. The leaks could also be coming from other water fixtures. By the time you return home, your water bills will have spiked considerably.
When going on a vacation, also flush the toilet to drain the tanks off the water. If your interior heating system breaks down, the temperatures will drop in summer. Frozen water in the toilet can break the porcelain faster than it can damage metal piping.
Your toilet may have faulty components, such as the flapper. Such issues can cause it to run while you are not home. According to estimates, a running toilet can waste up to 7,000 gallons per day. That can amount to approximately $50 on top of your current monthly utility bill.
Should You Turn Off the Water Heater?
Your water heating system maintains the temperature of water between 50 and 60 degrees. If problems are developing in the tank, such as leaks, leaving it on could compound the issue. The heat in the system increases the pressure that may turn leaks into full-blown flooding.
If you are using an electric water heater, it is wise to shut off both the cold and hot water supply. You can save electricity and minimize the risk of an expensive leakage. But remember to open the water supply before turning on the heater when you get back.
For gas-powered water heaters, you may find a vacation mode you can use. It is ideal when you are going on a short vacation. Gas systems can take up to an hour to turn on. Therefore, a vacation mode is more convenient.
You can consult the equipment’s user manual before turning it off. Electric, gas-powered, and other types of water heaters may have varying systems depending on the manufacturer. If you suspect your heater is faulty, consult Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing team in Atlanta.
Other Essential Steps to Prevent Water Damage
Don’t forget to turn off the water supply to your washing machine, dishwasher, and other equipment that need water. Faults often occur around the points where piping intersect. If you don’t shut off the water, there could be flooding when an issue develops along the supply lines.
Turn off the water valve and water fixtures to reduce the risk of a water hammer. A water hammer is a momentary increase in pressure inside your plumbing. Hot water systems are particularly prone to the phenomenon.
Before you leave for vacation, you may want to conduct a visual inspection of your water fixtures and equipment. Your heater may be developing leakages on the tank. If it ruptures, it can cause flooding, mold growth, and equipment malfunctions.
In other words, you should look out for plumbing issues and address them before they become costly to repair. Professional plumbers recommend organizing for an inspection of your plumbing at least once every two years.
Signs that your plumbing is faulty:
- Noises coming from the pipes
- Foul odor from the drains
- Frequent toilet clogs and fixture leaks
- Peeling paint or mold growth on walls
- A sudden increase in utility bills
Preparing Your Plumbing Before You Leave
An inspection can help you unearth problems in areas that you would otherwise ignore. For example, your sump pump can cause flooding in the basement while you are away on vacation. By ensuring it is in working condition, you reduce the risk of water damage.
Ideally, you should set aside a few days for preparation before you leave. That will give you time to observe and detect issues with your plumbing. You will also have enough time to call a plumber for repairs to protect your pipes and heating equipment.
For dependable services, you can talk to our highly skilled team of plumbers. Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing has been serving Atlanta since 1989. Our commitment to high levels of professionalism has earned an Angie’s List Award and a Home Advisor top rating. You can depend on our BBB A+ rated team for leak detection, pipe replacement, drain cleaning, and plumbing repairs. Call our team for prompt services in Atlanta today. We look forward to serving you.