Prevent Water Damage to Your Home While Away for the Holidays
How to Prevent Water Damage When You’re out of Town:
The holidays make for one of the busiest travel seasons in the United States. Whether you are traveling to be with family for the holidays or just plain trying to escape the cold by going south, if you are traveling, you will need to prepare your home for your absence.
Traveling during the holidays doesn’t have to turn you into the Grinch. With a little planning, you can eliminate the chances of water damage when you’re away from home.
Those Most Common Mishaps Are:
- Busted pipes
- Toilet overflows
- Water heater leaks
- Dishwasher leaks
- Ice maker malfunctions
- Sink overflows
- Busted washing machine hoses
- Shower and tub leaks and overflows
Steps To Help Eliminate Your Risk
Shut Off Main Water Supply Valve:
Closing the valve on the main water supply line cuts off water to your home. This will help to prevent floods or major pipe leaks. If you are unsure where the main water valve is located, look for your water meter. The valve will not be far.
- Open up all the taps in your home for at least 5-10 minutes to release water pressure.
- When returning 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.
Shut Off Select Water Valves:
If you have someone checking 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.
Individual shutoff valves can be found on the supply lines leading to most appliances, toilets and faucets. 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 when you’re away, there is absolutely no need to waste the energy heating 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 it will stay warm enough to help prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Lowering the humidity settings will help to reduce the risk of condensation issues.
Shut Off SOME Electric:
If any of your televisions, computers, stereos, and other electronics are plugged directly into the wall rather than into a surge protector, pull the plugs in case a power surge happens while you're away. If you do have them all run through surge protects, you can simply flip the switch to power them off.
- 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.)
- Have 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.
- Shutting off major electrical components will go a long way in reducing your energy use.
Check Your Sump Pump:
Rainwater can be a nightmare. If your sump pump fails while you're gone and a major storm comes around, you could return to a flooded basement. So make sure the sump pump is working before you leave town.
- Dump a bucket of water in the sump pump hole. The pump should turn on when the pit fills with water.
You should set aside some time to make a lap around the outside of your home to complete any minor maintenance tasks that can go a long way in preventing water damage in your absence.
- Ie. Clean your gutters and downspout extensions
Befriend A Neighbor:
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.
For more holiday safety tips CLICK HERE
A Water Leak or Flooding Makes for a Horrible Welcome Home Gift
We here at SERVPRO of Bear/New Castle, DE know that not every water damage can be prevented, so we’re here to help! If you have water damage in your home, please call us immediately at (302) 392-6000 to minimize the damage to your home and belongings. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”