Avoid Plumbing & Heating Headaches — Prepping For Winter Vacation

Life’s a Beach, But You Don’t Want to Come Home From Palm Springs to Find That Your Home’s an Ocean

8121868_sWhether you go south for the winter months or you’re just planning a short family trip to Mexico in January, there are a few things you need to check around the house before you go. These simple steps, taken before you leave, can save you from coming home to frozen and burst pipes (and the resulting flooding).

When to Turn Off the Water Main

For most homeowners, this is the one step you should take before going away for an extended time. Before leaving, locate the water main and turn it off. Now even if the furnace does go out, there isn’t any water in the pipes to freeze, expand, and damage them.

The exception to this rule is if you have a boiler, in which case you’ll need to leave them on to supply water to the boiler.

If you don’t turn off the water mains before leaving, be sure to turn off the water supply to the outside taps (hose bibs) and drain those taps. This should always be done for the winter regardless.

General HVAC Prep

The very first thing to be sure of is that your furnace has had its yearly maintenance check. This will give you the peace of mind that the furnace is functioning at its best and will run reliably throughout the time you’re gone.

If you are in need of a furnace upgrade, the great thing about some of the new high efficiency models is that they connect to your phone, and if anything goes wrong while you’re away from the house, the furnace system will alert you.

If you’ve turned off your water mains, be sure to also turn off the humidifier — otherwise you may damage the solenoid.

Other Things to Check

Before you leave, double check your home insurance to see how often your home must be checked to keep your coverage valid, and make sure you’ve set that up with someone you trust.

When you get home again, turn on your water mains and then check all the faucets in the home to make sure everything is working properly. If you’ve taken the right steps before your vacation, you should come home to no problems and be able to focus on unpacking and getting used to the cold again!

Happy vacationing!