Summer is here. The weather is warm and sunny. The kids are on school break and you may be thinking of summer vacation. The reservations are made and now it is just a matter of time. Are you thinking of heading out to the beach? Or perhaps you are dreaming of a mountain escape?
Before you head out, let someone know you will be out of town and provide contact information on how to reach you in case of emergency. I knew a woman house-sitting while friends went on a summer vacation. The sewer line backed up in the second bathroom, overflowing the toilet, tub, and sinks. It was a stinky, gross mess. The woman was not able to reach the vacationing family so she made her own decision to get a plumber in there fast. The decision required tearing up some of the floor tiles and a portion of the wall. That is a hard decision to make when it is not your home. And needless to say, when the homeowners returned they were not pleased. But they had not left a number to be reached.
No matter what your plans are for summer vacation, don’t let your plumbing get in the way. Luckily for the homeowners mentioned above, someone was there to handle the emergency when it happened. We have had too many nightmare stories of people returning home after summer vacation to a flooded house. Unfortunately things can go wrong. To avoid problems, we have put together a few summer vacation plumbing tips.
- Set your water heater to the lowest setting or vacation setting. Do this only If no one will be at your home while you are on vacation and just before you are ready to leave.
- Turn off the water supply. Only do this if no one will be entering your home while you are away. If you want everything off, turn the water valve off at the meter. And if you have an outside sprinkling system or have asked neighbors to come water the tomatoes while you are away, then you can shut off the water at the main valve coming into your house while making the outside water available.
- Inspect your sump pump for the basement. Approximately one to two weeks before you leave make sure that your sump pump is working properly by pouring some water down the sump pit. This will give you reassurance that your basement will be fully protected in case of a heavy rain storm.
- Check your lines for any signs of distress. This should be done approximately one to two weeks before you leave. If you have slow flowing faucets, slow drains, cracks that are developing, or even a slight leak, these could be signs of distress to your pipes. Over time distress can cause a break and we all know Murphy’s Law: if it is going to happen, it will happen while you are away. Your plumbing professional can help you check your lines and make any necessary repairs.
- Remove potential odors from your drains and plumbing appliances. Add a drain maintenance product to your drains to help loosen up waste and debris buildup and reduce odors while you are away. Make sure to turn the garbage disposal on to get rid of food that can leave an odor. And another potential odor can come from dirty dishes so run the dishwasher.
- Let someone look after your house. Leave them the all your emergency numbers, including the number for your plumber. In case there is a problem, it can then be handled fast and effectively.
Vacation is a time to relax and have fun. You don’t want to be worried about something potentially going wrong. To keep peace of mind, contact your professional plumber to make sure everything at your home is in tip-top shape before you leave.