Have a Holly Jolly – Not a Floody, Muddy – Christmas

You’ve packed the gifts, gassed up the car, bundled the kids and double checked that the doors are locked – but before you leave on the annual Christmas trip, have you thought about what you need to do to prevent an emergency plumbing call on Boxing Day?

Whether you’ll be gone for a few days or a few weeks, and no matter how far you are heading away from home, the last thing you want is for your trip to be disrupted by a call from a neighbour saying that your heat went out and your pipes have burst — and Merry Christmas, you’re the proud owner of a brand new swimming pool… in your basement.

“No Heat”? Emergency Furnace Repair

The most common emergency call we receive this time of year (this long, long time of year that we here in Calgary call winter) is the “no heat” call. It’s bad enough to wake up in the morning to a house that’s extra-cold — but what happens if you’re not even there? Of course you should have someone checking on the house every 72 hours (or more often, depending on the specific requirements of your home insurance), but unfortunately a lot can happen in even 24 hours in a house where the furnace is out. Because of this, we do recommend you have someone check your home every 24 hours.

The best way to prevent this from happening in the first place is with annual furnace maintenance. Having your regular maintenance call done on schedule is key for the short- and long-term health of your heating system. It’s also a good idea to check your furnace filter before you leave on holidays, and change it if needed. A clogged filter can lead to an overload of pressure, which can in turn kill the blower motor on your furnace.

A Soggy Surprise

Cracked pipeWe witnessed a sad holiday story a while back when one of our customers had his furnace quit while he was away for Christmas. Before long, the plunging temperatures in the home caused the copper pipes to freeze and burst. Not only did every bit of copper piping need to be replaced, but the basement was completely flooded — the place was a mess. That’s not what any of us wants from Santa this year!

So here’s some great advice that’s simple, and worth the peace of mind – not to mention the prevention of loss and damages.

Before Leaving During the Winter

On top of your yearly maintenance call, follow these steps before you leave for the holidays to prevent burst pipes in the event of a furnace outage:
turn off the water at the main;
open one tap on the main floor or in the basement to drain the lines and let the pressure off.

This, coupled with your regular once-every-24-hours check-in, should ensure that you make it back from your trip without any major headaches. Except, of course, for the one your in-laws might give you – unfortunately we can’t help you with that!

George Pinel
George Pinel

These blog posts are brought to you from George Pinel & the Instant Plumbing team.

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