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Avoid a plumbing disaster while on vacation


Whether you’re leaving for a long weekend, or a month-long getaway, proper preparation can help prevent coming home to a disaster. Here’s 7 tips to prevent plumbing disasters while on vacation.

 

Have someone check on your home

This is a big one! Ask a friend or neighbor to periodically check on your home while you’re gone just to make sure everything looks okay. Show them where the main water shutoff valve is, and let them know what to do in case of an emergency. Not only is this an easy way to prevent plumbing emergencies; it could be a requirement of your home insurance policy.

 

Check your washing machine

Did you know one of the main culprits of houses flooding is from a washing machine? These machines have high pressure hoses connected to them, and if left unchecked, can cause an extremely big problem with costly flood restoration repairs.

Leak detection systems are a huge asset to protecting your home from flooding. While these are wonderful devices, we have experienced delays due to supply issues. If you don’t have a leak detection system, you want to thoroughly inspect all the hoses and fittings for your machine.

First, note the material of the hose. Rubber hoses need to be replaced every 5 years, and steel braided every 15 years. Hoses deteriorate on the inside, so don’t always trust the exterior. Also, replacements are a simple DIY fix you can do at home. This inexpensive hose replacement could save you thousands of dollars avoiding flood damage.

Second, check for any signs of leaks, discoloration, corrosion, or signs of water presence. Any signs like this are important clues to bigger issues down the road that need to be taken care of.

 

Dump your ice maker

While this may not be a plumbing problem, necessarily, it’s worth mentioning. As we know living in Florida, when storm season approaches, the power may go out. Avoid water leaking onto your floor by dumping the ice out and turning off the icemaker.

 

Check your toilets

First, give your toilet and valves a thorough inspection. Look for leaks, cracks, and water stains. Next, look for any discoloration or dampness around the base of the bowl. If you notice anything, you’ll want this checked out by a plumber after you get back to avoid a potential larger problem down the road. To avoid any mishaps until a plumber can check these issues, slowly turn off the water to your toilet with the valve.

 

Smart Home Water Valve

Although supply issues have significant delays, Moen offers some great devices you can install in your smart home. Smart valves can be installed on the main plumbing valves in your home. Wi-fi enabled, the Smart Valve System runs daily health tests on your plumbing system and will notify you on the app if something is amiss. In addition to smart valves, Smart Water Detection devices can be added to plumbing fixtures or devices. They communicate with the smart valve directly or work through the Moen app. The app is free and can even save you money on your water bill by the way it measures your water consumption.

 

Shut off Main Water Supply

When in doubt, you can always turn off your main water valve. That way, if a leak does occur, the damage will be minimal.  Locate your main water valve; if you don’t know where it is, look for your water meter. It’s always within a straight line from that. Most are located on the perimeter of your home, at front of your foundation, facing the street. Some homes also have it located near the water heater. If you’re on a well, the water can enter from the back or side of the house. If you still can’t find it, it will be listed on your property inspection report. Flip through to the plumbing section, and it should be listed there with a photo.

Remember, these valves have high pressure water flowing through; be sure to turn gently and slowly off. Never force a valve or put strain on it to close, doing this can result in your valve breaking. There are two types of main water valves. Read below to see which one you have:

ball valve and gate valves

Ball Valve

A ball valve is a straight handle that runs parallel to the pipe when it is open. To turn off a ball valve, the handle will move from a parallel position to a perpendicular position. The valve body has stops that only allow the handle to move from one direction to another and will stop the handle when it is fully perpendicular.

Gate Valve

Similar to a hose faucet, this round handle must be turned several times clockwise until the gate seats to fully shut off the water.

 

Yearly Plumbing Inspection

To avoid costly damages due to flooding, having a yearly plumbing inspection not only gives you peace of mind; it can also catch issues before they become a disaster. If you’re not already set up for one, we offer a club that includes whole home inspection for your heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing systems. Click here to read more about this VIP program.

 

As always, if you’re ever unsure, you can always have one of our experts come take a look at your home’s plumbing, heating, cooling, or electrical system to make sure everything is in working order. Have a wonderful vacation and safe travels!

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